Parties are preparing for the next stage of negotiations between the Justice Department and the city of Portland. The two sides have reached general agreement over a policy on the use of force by police. But, a community group and the police union have argued they deserve some input into how the agreement is implemented. This week, Federal Judge Michael Simon granted the Portland Police Association limited standing, by virtue of its negotiated labor agreements with the city.
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition, one of the groups that asked the Justice Department to investigate use of force in Portland, was granted access to the negotiations, but no actual bargaining power. Judge Simon reasoned the Justice Department shares the same interest in correcting a pattern of excessive police force.
The Coalition's Joann Hardesty does not agree.
"The AMA Coalition asked the Department of Justice to come out and very specifically look at the issue of race. The Department of Justice Civil Rights division shifted it to issues of mental illness or perceived mental illness. As you can tell what's happening now is race is falling off the table."
The Judge has asked the parties to check in in early March. Mediation hearings are yet to be scheduled.