06-23-2018  4:46 am      •     
The Skanner Report
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

Central Washington suicide rate rises 23 percent

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — On June 7, 2016, Kori Haubrich thought she found a solution to the problems that had been gnawing at her for weeks.That Monday, the Sunnyside native sat outside her Bellingham apartment struggling to figure out what she would do after graduating from Western Washington...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

First lady's 'don't care' jacket is a gift to memers online

NEW YORK (AP) — I really don't care, do u?Perhaps one day first lady Melania Trump will use her own words...

Justices adopt digital-age privacy rules to track cellphones

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have...

Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president's leadership

CAIRO (AP) — Tens of thousands of Egyptians have set social media alight with tweets on opposing hashtags,...

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for...

End Profiling campaign (Photo courtesy of Unite Oregon)
Melanie Sevcenko

For many people of color -- nationwide and in the Portland area -- being unfairly and unequally treated in the criminal justice system is a cruel reality. 

As reported by InvestigateWest in partnership the Pamplin Media Group, in Multnomah County, “African-Americans are charged three to 30 times as often as white residents for everything from pedestrian and transit fare violations to drug charges and crimes related to interactions with police.”

Police profiling is just one piece of the inequality puzzle, but its statewide persistence carries heavy socio-economic weight for its victims.

African American defendants in Multnomah County paid about $21.5 million more than they would have if their fines had been equal to those levied on White defendants, according to InvestigateWest.

“I believe profiling is an economic justice issue,” Kayse Jama, executive director of Unite Oregon, told The Skanner. “You just need to go to the courts downtown and you see who has been ticketed. The majority is generally people of color.”

2015 law created a starting point

In 2013, Jama took the issue of profiling to Salem, but was met with little result.

Then came the summer of 2014, when the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson put law enforcement – and its handling of force against African Americans – in the hot seat.

In 2015 the legislature passed the End Profiling Act, which was spearheaded by Attorney General Ellen Rosenlum and championed by Sen. Lew Frederick and Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer. It defined profiling as “people targeted based on their race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, language, housing status, and sexual orientation or gender identity.”

It also established a compliant mechanism so that individuals targeted by police profiling could file a grievance with the Law Enforcement Contacts Policy and Data Review Committee (LECC).

Yet some felt the legislation didn’t live up to its name. “For too long we’ve heard stories of our community facing profiling by state police,” said Amira Streeter, policy and advocacy director at the Urban League. “This unlawful act still continues even after the passage of HB 2002.”

What the bill did accomplsih, however, was the creation of a task force. The Work Group on the Prevention of Profiling by Law Enforcement, steered by Rosenblum and assembled with organizations such as Unite Oregon, the Portland Police Association and the ACLU of Oregon, devised recommendations to address systematic profiling.

Eighteen months of task force meetings culminated in House Bill 2355, which aims to create a method to track profiling.

If passed, the new bill would mandate that all police officers in Oregon collect data on a person’s perceived race, ethnicity, age and sex when making pedestrian and traffic-stops. It would also make Oregon the second state, after California, to record pedestrian data. Currently only Portland, Eugene and Corvallis’ police departments require officers to track race and ethnicity during traffic stops.

The data accrued through HB 2355 would be reviewed by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to identify patterns or practices of profiling. The commission would then report its findings annually, beginning in 2020, to the governor and the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

The legislation also requires police to complete training in cultural competency and implicit bias to prevent profiling. It also reclassifies narcotic possession from a felony to a misdemeanor.

“We know there’s some disparity between who is stopped, who is searched and who is convicted on drug possession,” said Jama, who presumes some 4,000 people could benefit bi-annually from the narcotic charge reduction.

According to InvestigateWest’s report, although Portland police now stop fewer people than in the past, “African Americans are still stopped at twice the rate of Whites by the city’s patrol and gang enforcement officers.”

‘Re-establishing credibility’ in criminal justice reform

The bill covers a lot of ground, but Sen. Lew Frederick said he’s most impressed by the felony rescheduling.

“It’s been used by a number of law enforcement folks as a way to marginalize people even further,” said Frederick, adding that felony charges often tarnish offenders’ access to employment and housing.

“We know that because of stereotypes and systemic prejudices people in our communities are often targeted based on their race, ethnicity or cultural background,” said Amanda Manjarrez, advocacy director at the Coalition of Communities of Color. “This unfair practice perpetuates mistrust of police and makes our communities less safe.”

In a similar sentiment Frederick said that profiling legislation is part of a larger momentum brewing at the state capitol.

“What we’re really talking about is reestablishing the credibility of how we deal with criminal justice reform,” Frederick said. “We need to have a situation where I’m not hearing from folks in the community that they’re worried if they call the police. That’s unacceptable.”

The senator has a number of bills on his desk that relate to police reform, including one that calls for a regular psychological visit (not an evaluation) for every law enforcement officer in the state to better address the rate of under-treated, or under-diagnosed, post-traumatic stress disorder.

He also emphasized the fact that both police and sheriffs’ associations in Oregon have endorsed the new profiling bill, which is telling, he said. “It means that they’ve recognized problems, and that the narrative that everyone was being treated equally is in fact a myth.”

Unite Oregon is leading the local campaign on HB 2355, which is endorsed by 75 civil rights organizations including the Urban League of Portland and the Coalition of Communities of Color. The organization has planned a lobby day in support of HB 2355 on March 16 in Salem.

Oregon Lottery
Portland Community Policing
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Lents International Farmers Market
The Skanner Report

The Skanner Foundation Scholarships