PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — City consultants have found that court-ordered training for a specialized crowd control unit run by Portland police turned out to be “overall disappointing” and led by an instructor who at times “appeared dismissive” of the judge’s ruling.
The training happened in March before members of the team resigned en masse in June. That came after one of its officers was indicted on a misdemeanor assault charge, accused of striking a woman in the head with a baton last summer.
A new report from the Chicago-based Rosenbaum & Associates says the team’s officers “did not seem to take the training seriously,” The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. The city hired the consultants to make sure the Police Bureau sticks to the terms of a federal settlement on use of force, training and oversight.
The videos presented in the training were of little educational value and the instructor failed to clarify the key objective -- the difference between physical resistance and active aggression, the report said.
U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez ordered the additional training for the team after finding that two officers had acted in contempt of his June 2020 order prohibiting police from firing their less-lethal launchers or using pepper spray on people engaged in passive resistance during racial justice protests. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed against the city by the nonprofit Don’t Shoot Portland.
Police Lt. Jacob Clark, commander of the crowd control team, said he wasn’t surprised by the critique.
“That goes back to one of the reasons for the team’s resignation,” Clark said.
“Even the city attorney is not providing clear direction on what the team can or can’t or should or shouldn’t do. That’s the frustrating part for the team.”
City attorney Robert Taylor said he takes the judge’s order seriously and used the March training to improve sessions in April, May and June.