05-20-2018  11:00 am      •     
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Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

US Marshals, police arrest Vermont fugitive in Oregon

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service says a missing sex offender from Vermont has been arrested in Oregon.The Marshals say 55-year-old James Rivers was arrested May 16 in Cottage Grove, Oregon, by deputy marshals and local police. It's unclear if he has an attorney.Authorities...

Oregon State study says it's OK to eat placenta after all

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — First experts said eggs are bad for you, then they say it's OK to eat them. Is red wine good for your heart or will it give you breast cancer?Should you eat your placenta?Conflicting research about diets is nothing new, but applying the question to whether new mothers...

State sees need to reduce elk damage in the Skagit Valley

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Elk are easy to spot against the green backdrop of the Skagit Valley, where much of the resident North Cascades elk herd that has grown to an estimated 1,600 is found.For farmers in the area — especially those who grow grass for their cattle or to sell to...

Famed mini sub's control room to become future exhibit

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport has a new addition to its archives — the salvaged control room of the legendary, one-of-a-kind Cold War-era miniature submersible NR-1.Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, conceived the idea for the...


Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...


2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy has been dismantled by crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo.And at the University of Michigan, regents have voted...

Guess who's coming to Windsor? Royal ceremony weds cultures

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (AP) — With a gospel choir, black cellist and bishop, Oprah, Serena and Idris Elba in the audience and an African-American mother-of-the-bride, Saturday's wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle was a blend of the solemn and the soulful.Guess who's...


'13 Reasons Why' premiere canceled after Texas shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix canceled the premiere party for its second season of the teen drama "13 Reasons Why" because of a school shooting near Houston.The streaming service announced the cancellation hours before the scheduled premiere and red carpet event, citing the Friday morning...

'Shoplifters' wins Palme d'Or, grand prize to Spike Lee

A tumultuous Cannes Film Festival concluded Saturday with the Palme d'Or awarded to Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Shoplifters," a tender portrait of a poor, impoverished family, while Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento vowed justice will come to all sexual predators.At the closing...

'Jurassic Park' dinosaur expert's next big thing: holograms

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Forget the gray, green and brown dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies. Paleontologist Jack Horner wants to transport people back in time to see a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex colored bright red and a blue triceratops with red fringe similar to a rooster's comb.Horner,...


'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in 5M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the...

Iraq's al-Sadr, promising reform, is constrained by Iran

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's Muqtada al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric whose political coalition beat out Iran's...

Company in Cuba plane crash had received safety complaints

HAVANA (AP) — The Mexican charter company whose 39-year-old plane crashed in Havana had been the subject of...

Palestinian publicly sets himself on fire in Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A 20-year-old Palestinian is in critical condition after publicly setting...

Iran says EU political support not enough, urges investment

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's state TV is reporting that the country's foreign minister has urged the European...

The Latest: Maduro's challengers criticize 'red points'

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela (all times local):1:01...

Roger David Hardesty

Repeated calls by pastors anchored in African American community led to Federal investigation of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) in 2010. Four years prior to Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, unjustifiable police homicides here had become untenable to ignore, politically. Read the results of the federal investigation here.

It became apparent that the City of Portland wraps local policing with the means to exonerate themselves of any wrongdoing. The US Department of Justice called ours a “self-defeating accountability system” when, in 2011, it found PPB engages in unconstitutional patterns of excessive force against people.

The resultant, 77-page plea deal, in USA. v. City of Portland, kept the ineffectual accountability apparatus intact. It pledged to “retain and strengthen the citizen and civilian employee input mechanisms that already exist in the PPB’s misconduct investigations by retaining and enhancing” them. (Italics mine.)

The image below is from Fig. 1, pg. 27 of DoJ Findings, illustrating the Portland Police Bureau complaint system, click on the image to enlarge.

use of force smallThe parties in the case now prepare for annual review by the U.S. District Circuit Court in October. They share substantial consternation that Federal Judge Michael H. Simon will find them non-compliant with an intricate agreement to achieve constitutionally sound law enforcement.

The City, with DoJ backing, now launches into a pair of initiatives designed to unravel citizen participation, both in oversight of cops’ self-exoneration scheme and simultaneously subvert civilian oversight of the plea deal itself. It’s a tremendous pivot, for the DoJ’s Civil Rights Division. It will be a challenge for Judge Simon to ascertain compliance, as the very fabric of the plea deal is torn up, and specific provisions thrown out.

The judge won’t have report from a Community Oversight Advisory Board, established under the deal to “independently assess the implementation of this Agreement.” In a surprising move, the City and the Feds conspired to shut COAB down. All support staff are withdrawn; the office promptly vacated.

It transpires that, months ago, Portland City Council asked PPB and the Auditor’s Office to draft plans for a “consolidated model” of our convoluted accountability structure. At least seven meetings were held behind closed doors in the Mayor’s office, on a need-to-know basis.

The COAB, responsible for oversight of a PPB Community Engagement and Outreach Plan, was positioned to demand adherence to processes outlined in the plea deal.

“PPB shall collect and maintain all data and records necessary to facilitate and ensure transparency and wide public access to information related to PPB decision making and activities, and compliance with this Agreement.” Judge Simon (who excludes public testimony from annual review), would potentially be alerted to another abrogation: “The Chief shall post on PPB’s website final drafts of all new or revised policies that are proposed, specific to … officer accountability, and community engagement, to allow the public an opportunity for notice and comment, prior to finalizing such policies.”

Checks and balances, within a greater effort of checking PPB’s self-exoneration scheme, are subverted. Perpetrators of civil rights violations, devoid of reasoned public input and on a short timeline, scramble to draft paper policy, which cannot be assessed for efficacy: it’s just been cobbled together.

Other cities are adopting police accountability mechanisms derived from national initiative, and best practices advocated by academics and professional policing associations. African American Mayor Ras J. Baraka exercised his authority to establish the Newark (NJ) Civilian Complaint Review Board. He granted subpoena power to that body; to compel police officer testimony, and give sanction for doing so falsely. His Police Director can only change any discipline that citizens hands out, if he or she establishes the board's decision was “clearly in error.”

Auditor Mary Hull Caballero spearheads a contrary effort. According to Oregonian reporting by Maxine Bernstein, ‘consolidation’ is to eliminate public testimony in the rump Citizen Review Committee, an appeals process that has no fact-checking authority.

PPB’s Internal Affairs Unit remains responsible for investigating the conduct of fellow officers; ‘consolidation’ is to move appeals to the clandestine Chief’s Police Review Board.

Final disciplinary decisions (on all but lethal use of force) are left to the whim of PPB’s Chief. The latest report by that body shows the Chief in about a third of cases imposes discipline lighter than that recommended by a majority of his or her peers on the force. In case 2014-B-0028, four of five members recommended termination: Assistant Chief Donna Henderson ordered 120-hour suspension without pay.

Subject matter experts readily testify that increased oversight compliance results in stronger public support for police. They value robust community engagement strategies and transparent processes, designed to produce ‘procedural justice,’ a condition of social acceptance … where we commonly perceive justice is being fairly delivered.

Ad hoc changes and closed-door processes, with a moment of public ‘input’ at Council passage, will not get us to real remedy. If the plea deal is being amended, I submit it’s far wiser to appeal, in a structured way, for accountability mechanisms which derive from best practices and broad consent of the governed.


Reporting was updated on Sept. 6, 2016, to reflect the correct Federal court.

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