Local

Reaction To DOJ Agreement Skeptical

OPB | Oct. 28, 2012 6 a.m. | Portland, OR

Contributed By:

April Baer

Activists who sought federal review of Portland police policies are still reviewing the city’s new agreement with the Department of Justice.  It lays out proposals for 32 new positions within police and administrative departments, two new mobile crisis units, and new mental health facilities. There’s little detail on how all of that will be paid for.

JoAnn Hardesty is on the steering committee for the Albina Ministerial Alliance. That’s one of the groups which asked the DOJ to investigate. She feels the proposed changes stop short of creating a fully independent police review process. Also, Hardesty says she thinks proposed new hires are rewarding a broken system.

“So the problem is the police are violating the constitutional rights of community members. Do we really believe we will solve that by adding 26 more police officers? My fear is council is slated to rubber stamp this agreement.”

Dan Handleman with Portland Copwatch shared a variety of concerns, including the perception that the problems of police brutality can be blamed on a lack of social and mental health services. He says he wanted to see stronger language prohibiting use of force on suspects - particularly those who are handcuffed.

Mayor Sam Adams characterized the agreement as promising greater transparency and accountability than the city has ever shown before.

Portland’s City Council is scheduled to discuss the agreement Thursday

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