A federal judge in Portland says a trial may be necessary to finalize an agreement over police use of force against people with mental illness. That could delay implementation of the agreement for a year or more.
The Justice Department investigated the Portland Police Bureau over claims that these cases violated the Constitution. The two sides negotiated a proposed agreement last year.
But the Portland Police Association has argued it has a stake in the agreement, because some aspects may conflict with the union’s contract with the city. That contract is still under negotiation. Thursday, Judge Michael Simon ordered all sides in the case to deliver arguments over the merits of elevating the police union’s status in the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian Brown says the Judge’s decision does not undermine the proposed settlement agreement. And, if the union is successful, it will have to take on the job of defending its members’ conduct.
Brown said, “The union is taking a risk here. We are very confident about our ability to move forward getting that finding of liability.”
The Justice Department argued against giving the PPA elevated status.
The Portland Police Association had no comment.
The parties will submit written briefs over the next few months. Judge Simon says he expects a trial might move forward next summer.