06-24-2018  1:40 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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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 ...

On the hunt in Oregon for a rare Sierra Nevada red fox

BEND, Ore. (AP) — In a dense forest at the base of Mount Bachelor, two wildlife biologists slowly walked toward a small cage trap they hoped would contain a rare red fox species. Jamie Bowles, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife technician in Bend, and Tim Hiller, founder of the...

Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several African Americans are suing big-box stores and restaurants in Oregon, claiming employees at those places wrongly accused them of stealing because they were "shopping while black."A Portland law firm has filed five lawsuits alleging racial profiling at businesses in...

Abuse survivor finds new life, success in Pacific Northwest

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Jonathan Dutson long dreamed of moving to the Pacific Northwest, where its lush greenery offered a respite from the scorching Arizona sun he grew up beneath. But Dutson was looking as much for a new home as he was looking for an escape.Dutson was one of 700 who walked...

Alaska city honors Guardsmen killed in crash after '64 quake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A month after the second most powerful earthquake ever was recorded, the Alaska port community of Valdez remained in ruins.A hulking Alaska National Guard cargo plane's mission April 25, 1964, was to deliver Gov. William Egan to oversee efforts to rebuild the town on...


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 ...


Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several African Americans are suing big-box stores and restaurants in Oregon, claiming employees at those places wrongly accused them of stealing because they were "shopping while black."A Portland law firm has filed five lawsuits alleging racial profiling at businesses in...

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.Criticism was swift on...

Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...


Han Solo's Blaster from 'Return of the Jedi' tops auction

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Han Solo's Blaster from the "Return of the Jedi" has sold for 0,000 at a Las Vegas auction.Julien's Auctions says Ripley's Believe It or Not bought the item Saturday.The sci-fi weapon was the top-selling item at the Hollywood Legends auction.The blaster was part of a...

Ornate NYC theater, used for years as a gym, to be restored

NEW YORK (AP) — For years, Long Island University's basketball team played in a French Baroque movie palace in downtown Brooklyn.The gilded wall fountains, plastered statuettes and towering, one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer organ pipes of the historic Paramount Theater were preserved by the...

Vinnie Paul, co-founder, drummer of Pantera, dies at 54

Vinnie Paul, co-founder and drummer of metal band Pantera, has died at 54.Pantera's official Facebook page posted a statement early Saturday announcing his death. The label of Hellyeah, his most recent group, confirmed the death but neither statement mentioned Paul's cause of death.His real name...


France, Belgium seek UNESCO recognition for WWI memorials

BRUSSELS (AP) — France and Belgium are urging UNESCO to designate scores of their World War I memorials and...

Sanders says she was told to leave Virginia restaurant

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was booted from a Virginia restaurant...

New Zealand leader names daughter Neve, leaves hospital

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford...

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,...

In about-face, Iraq's maverick al-Sadr moves closer to Iran

BAGHDAD (AP) — Muqtada al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric who emerged as the main winner in Iraq's...

Mattis to visit China as Taiwan, S. China Sea tensions rise

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has accused China of "intimidation and coercion" in...

By Arashi Young | The Skanner News

Propelled by the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and others, the Black Lives Matter movement has made police accountability a national discussion.  

This session, the Oregon Legislature responded by passing a number of bills that protect civil rights and increase police transparency. The Skanner News contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon to discuss these new laws and what they mean for Oregonians.

The new police accountability bills that have been signed into law are:

  • House Bill 2002 B--expands the definition of profiling and requires law enforcement agencies to adopt written policies on profiling. The bill creates a system for reporting complaints and a way to analyze grievances.
  • House Bill 2571 B--creates rules about the use of body-worn cameras by police.
  • House Bill 2704--allows the recording of conversations of police officers when they are performing official duties.
  • Senate Bill 641--co-sponsored by the ACLU of Oregon, requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant before accessing data stored on a cell phone and information about cell phone location.

All three house bills were sponsored by Rep. Lew Frederick, who represents North and Northeast Portland.

Kimberly McCullough, the legislative director for the ACLU of Oregon, said the bills check authority with increased accountability.

“We entrust police officers with extraordinary authority, including the ability to use force when needed, even deadly force,” McCullough said. “This authority must be balanced with transparency and accountability in order to deter and expose misconduct, protect individual rights and liberties, and promote public safety.”


Racial Profiling

Before HB 2002 B was passed, Oregon law already prohibited profiling on the basis of race. The new definition includes age, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, homelessness or disability.

McCullough said this expanded definition is important because many different populations are profiled. The ACLU of Oregon’s stance on profiling is that it is a false assumption that membership in a group means criminality, and that this assumption is often based on implicit bias and stereotypes.

HB 2002 B also funds the Law Enforcement Contacts Policy and Data Review Committee, which began its work on racial profiling in 2001. The Law Enforcement Profiling Work Group will analyze profiling complaints and make recommendations on profiling patterns which may reduce profiling in the future.


Body-Worn Cameras

Creating the rules for police body-worn cameras required negotiation among competing concerns, McCullough said.

“Police body cameras have significant potential as a tool for accountability by capturing video footage of misconduct,” she said. “Body cameras are also a surveillance tool and pose significant risks to privacy.”

The ACLU of Oregon participated in a work group that added many provisions into the body-camera bill that became law. One provision was that cameras needed to record continuously when police interact with a suspect instead of allowing officers to pick and choose recording times.

Body cameras should be used only during legitimate law enforcement purposes and cannot use facial recognition or other biometric matching technology to analyze recordings. These were added to the bill to protect people from excessive surveillance and invasion of privacy.

The legislation also made rules concerning the ownership and release of video footage. Even if third-party vendors supply the cameras, they do not own the film.


Recording Police

“It should not be a crime to pull out a phone, hold it up, and record an officer who is engaged in misconduct,” McCullough said.

But the rules about recording police in Oregon were unclear.

National courts have agreed that the right to record the police is protected by the First Amendment, but in Oregon, recording police conversations violated an eavesdropping law. Before HB 2704 was passed, a bystander needed to announce to the officer that he or she was recording.

McCullough said this was not only inconsistent with constitutional rights but dangerous to interfere with an officer who is actively engaged with a suspect.  

HB 2704 affirms the right to record the conversations of police officers who are performing official duties openly and in plain view. It doesn’t allow people to trespass to record or to record whispered conversations of officers.


Cell Phone Privacy

It is a routine procedure to search a cell phone during an arrest. With the aid of forensic cell phone data extraction devices, an officer can crack cell passwords, bypass user locks, recover deleted files and access data right there on site. 

“As technology advances, our digital footprints expand, containing more and more data about the most intimate aspects of our lives,” McCullough said. Gathering this much personal data this quickly was impossible before the age of smartphones.

The ACLU of Oregon co-sponsored SB 641 with Sen. Chip Shields to protect privacy by requiring police to obtain a warrant before accessing phone data.

Evidence gathered without a warrant cannot be used in court or to establish probable cause, and the courts may order law enforcement to purge duplicated data if defendant files motion for return of property.


Some of the laws have been made in response to new technologies such as body cameras, facial recognition software, and smartphone data miners. As the technology evolves and becomes integrated into law enforcement procedures, accountability laws change and adapt.

McCullough said the legal reforms are just one part of police accountability; there is also implementation, training, monitoring and oversight. Beyond these laws, there could be more civilian oversight of police practices, reduced use of deadly force and more women and minorities in police forces.

“While these laws are important and helpful, there is much work to be done,” she said.

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