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The City Auditor has released an external review of Portland Police activities around seven officer-involved shootings between 2004 and 2010. The report details what happened in each case, summarizes similarities, and offers 13 recommendations. Several of the recommendations are: The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) should maintain its partnership with Project Respond and make the Mobile Crisis Unit a permanent team, ideally with expanded personnel, hours, and scope. PPB should reexamine its current policy on Taser use in light of current research indicating the elevated dangers of prolonged Taser use. PPB should consider ways in which it can integrate its Critical Incident Management training curriculum into training opportunities for patrol officers.
Segmentarticle - May 31, 2012
More and more Portland police officers are being pulled over for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII). In the past year alone, six officers have been arrested for DUIIs. There have been 16 officer arrests for DUIIs in the past decade. The most recent arrest occured last Friday. Is this a sign that officer alcohol abuse is getting worse, or that law enforcement is no longer turning a blind eye to policing its own officers? A recent Oregonian editorial argued these increased arrests are a good sign that the Portland Police Bureau is finally taking officer DUIIs seriously.
Segmentarticle - Sept. 14, 2011
Northwest police officers have been in the news a fair amount recently, but not the kind of news they want. In Portland, the case of a 12-year-old girl who was shot with a beanbag gun while resisting arrest received international attention. And the James Chasse case, now more than three years old, still reverberates with disciplinary recommendations. (You can listen to a previous show we did about Chasse's death here.) Meanwhile, there have been a few high-profile attacks on officers in the region. On Sunday, four police officers from Lakewood, south of Tacoma, were killed in a coffee shop. Last month, a Seattle officer was shot to death and four police cars were fire-bombed by a "lone domestic terrorist."
Segmentarticle - Dec. 1, 2009
The police shooting death of Aaron Campbell earlier this year touched a nerve that for some was already exposed and raw. The Grand Jury in the case took the unusual step of writing a letter to the District Attorney to explain that their sympathies were with the Campbell family, but that under Oregon law, they could not indict officer Ronald Frashour. They concluded that Aaron Campbell — and Portland — "deserved better". Demands for more police accountability in this case — and others, like James Chasse, who died in police custody in 2006 — have led to a proposal to strengthen the Indepedent Police Review (IPR) process. The proposed changes would replace the current Performance Review and Use of Force Boards with one Police Review Board; they would strengthen the authority of the Independent Police Review in matters investigated by the Bureau; and they would give the IPR the power to initiate its own independent investigations.
Segmentarticle - March 17, 2010
Dozens of Occupy Portland protesters were arrested in downtown Portland on Thursday. The protests were part of a nationwide "Day of Action." They were the first protests in which Portland police officers used pepper spray. Stay tuned to OPB News for continuing coverage.
Segmentarticle - Nov. 18, 2011
Portland Mayor Sam Adams made some surprising announcements at a noon press conference on Wednesday. He's taking over the police bureau from Commissioner Dan Saltzman and replacing Police Chief Rosie Sizer with Mike Reese, who has most recently served as the East Precinct commander. In the past several months, Portland Police fatally shot two civilians. (UPDATE 8:53 PM Wednesday — Another fatal shooting, with an officer wounded, happened this evening.) Adams noted the earlier incidents in his address on Wednesday, saying that "the relationship between the people of Portland and the police officers is not what it needs to be." Sizer and Adams also locked horns in a very public budget fight earlier in the week.
Segmentarticle - May 13, 2010
In the past three months, Portland police have gained a new chief and a new union president as well as a new police commissioner. Mike Reese had a tough first week on the job as chief. An officer was wounded and a man fatally shot by police just hours after Mayor Sam Adams announced that Reese would replace Rosie Sizer as chief. (At the same time, Adams took over the police commissioner job from Dan Saltzman.) Daryl Turner had a somewhat less eventful foray into his new position as Portland Police Association president about a month ago, though he did have to answer a few questions about his spicy rhetoric in the union's newsletter, Rap Sheet. He is the first African American to hold the job. Both Reese and Turner have been with the force a long time (Reese for 16 years and Turner for 19). Before he started patrolling in Portland, Reese was a deputy in the Multnomah County Sheriff's office, a job he took after working as a counselor and program manager for area chapters of the Boys & Girls Club. He told the Oregonian he would like to see police training transition away from a "fear-based model" to one based on "competancy and confidence." Turner originally hails from Newark, New Jersey and has worked in the Portland police vice unit.
Segmentarticle - Aug. 27, 2010
Portland City Council will vote on an emergency ordinance (pdf) Wednesday that, if passed, will allow police to use video surveillance cameras on private property. The ordinance has been contested since early May over concerns that it oversteps privacy boundaries. Portland police say the new surveillance will help in the arrest and prosecution of drug dealers and gang members in Old Town/Chinatown. But opponents of the measure say the new surveillance invades privacy rights, and that the language of the ordinance is vague and gives police too much surveillance power — this is despite an effort by the Police Bureau to draft guidelines for how the camera would be used. Here's some photos from the neighborhood where video surveillance may be used: Slideshow photography credit: Luis Giraldo/OPB
Segmentarticle - June 6, 2012
On Wednesday, a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Ronald Frashour for fatally shooting Aaron Campbell in January. But they submitted what amounts to a damning (if unofficial) indictment of Portland Police Bureau policy in a letter (pdf) to Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk that was released today: We know that somethng went terribly, terribly wrong at Sand Terrace and that Aaron Campbell should not have died that day. He was not accused of a crime. He police were called to do a "welfare check" because Mr. Campbell was distraught over his brother's death and family members were worried about him. We feel that his death resulted from flawed police policies, incomplete or inappropriate training, incomplete communication, and other issues with the police effort. We feel strongly that something must be done to correct this, and the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) should be held responsible for this tragedy.... We also feel that the recorded Grand Jury testimony should be made public — in particular, that of Officer Frashour. By bringing information to the public, perhaps others will come to understand why there is no indictment. With understanding and a plan for correction, perhaps the community unrest over this case will ease; perhaps the healing process can begin.
Segmentarticle - Feb. 12, 2010
Segmentarticle - March 31, 2014
Segmentarticle - March 4, 2014
Segmentarticle - Oct. 23, 2013
On Monday night, Portland police officers fatally shot a man who fired a shotgun at them in an empty parking garage. The 32-year-old man, Santiago Cisneros III, was a veteran who may have been suffering from PTSD. Just two days later, a grand jury ruled on another recent shooting. The jury found that Portland officers were justified in using deadly force against Merle Hatch at Adventist Medical Center on February 17. Hatch appeared to be armed and can be seen on a cell phone video taunting the officers. It was later revealed that he did not have a weapon.
Segmentarticle - March 7, 2013
About a month ago, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report of an investigation that found Portland police have engaged in a pattern of excessive force, especially against people with mental illness. This week, the police bureau responded to the DOJ findings by announcing it will reinstate the Crisis Intervention Team — a dedicated team of officers specially trained to respond to someone experiencing a mental health crisis.
Segmentarticle - Oct. 19, 2012
A homeless man was shot to death by a Portland Police officer on Monday afternoon. Now the details are starting to come out and the community is reacting to what is now the second shooting by Portland Police this year. Here's what we know right now: Portland Police were called when a transient man was harassing and threatening people at Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park. When the officer arrived the man came out of the bathroom with a significant amount of blood on him and with self-inflicted cuts on his neck. The state medical examiner says this suggests he may have been trying to kill himself. He came out of the bathroom holding a knife, which Chief Rosie Sizer described at a press conference as a razor-like knife similar to an X-Acto knife with a six-inch handle. Sizer said that the police officer, Jason Walters, retreated and asked him to drop the knife. And she said that when the man continued to advance, and didn't drop the knife, Walters shot him four times. The man bled to death at the scene. [Note: this paragraph has been edited to reflect this comment by Jrenaud.]
Segmentarticle - March 24, 2010
Segmentarticle - Oct. 28, 2013
On Jan. 31, Baruti Artharee began his new job as public safety policy director at Portland City Hall. He will serve as Mayor Charlie Hale's liaison to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) — and other public safety organizations — and will advise the mayor on policy changes. Artharee grew up in Compton, California, where he had adverse encounters with law enforcement. When he first came to Portland in the mid-1970s, he protested several Portland police shootings of African Americans, and has since formally and informally consulted the PPB on matters of diversity. His professional experience, however, has not directly focused on law enforcement. He has run a diversity and cultural competency consulting firm, along with serving as director of Oregon's Department of Housing and Community Services, chairman of the Urban League of Portland, and executive director of the Portland Development Commission.
Segmentarticle - Feb. 6, 2013
Segmentarticle - Nov. 4, 2013
Rep. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) wants more data on how police interact with citizens from different racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds. He's sponsoring a bill that would require the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to study racial and economic disparities in police encounters as well as hiring and recruitment of minorities in law enforcement. Frederick, who is African-American, has been stopped by police near his home in Portland and he says he's heard from constituents who have their own stories about uncomfortable interactions with cops.
Segmentarticle - April 10, 2013
We broadcast live during the police sweep of Occupy Portland yesterday. Now, the protesters are out of the park and regrouping. The City of Portland has closed Lownsdale and Chapman Parks. Today, we recap what happened, and ask what happens next.
Segmentarticle - Nov. 14, 2011
This morning at 6 a.m. Portland Police removed several of the Occupy Portland protestors from Main street in downtown. Eight people were arrested. Until now, the interaction between protestors and police had not been very confrontational, but the current stand-off has earned the demonstration some ill-will. The Oregonian this morning called for an end to the larger Portland occupation movement. The protesters who refused to leave Main street were in the minority. Mayor Sam Adams says he doesn't plan to force the protestors from the downtown parks.
Segmentarticle - Oct. 13, 2011
After a spate of shootings near N Killingsworth St last fall, many groups are coming together to address violence in the neighborhood. Over the past few months, the Portland Police Bureau has attempted a "broken windows" approach to policing the street. They've committed three officers to about a ten block stretch of N Killingsworth St to address minor crimes like public drinking and graffiti with the idea that it will deter major crimes. Initial reports show some success, but the strategy is temporary, and it's hard to know if the results will stay after the officers leave. Meanwhile, local religious leaders have started the 11:45 project which organizes hundreds of volunteers willing to give 45 minutes of their week to walking the area engaging with youth. Some activists are worried that some efforts may unfairly target the area's low-income and minority residents.
Segmentarticle - April 9, 2012
This month, we're talking with the front-runners in the Portland mayor's race ahead of the May 15 primary. This time, we'll hear from Eileen Brady. She's best known as the co-founder of New Seasons Market, a local supermarket chain she started with her husband and a group of their friends. The Chicago native got into the race in June of last year and has since raised more money than any other candidate. Before she got involved with starting New Seasons, Brady was vice president of food and farms at the conservation organization EcoTrust. She also served as vice chair for the state's Health Fund Board. The board recommended legislation on a wide range of issues, much of which passed in the 2009 session. Her campaign has largely focused on her business credentials, garnering her a prominent endorsement from the Portland Business Alliance (PBA). Brady has also taken some flak for the fact that New Seasons workers are not unionized like other area grocery store employees. There was also an odd incident reported by Willamette Week in which she spoke harshly to a police officer who cited her for riding her bike where she should have walked it through a crowd during the Rose Parade in 2003. According to the police report WW requested, she warned the officer that she has friends at City Hall. Brady denies she said this and claims the police report is inaccurate. Either way, the squabble lead to her exclusion from Waterfront Park for a 30 day period. Brady will go up against more than a dozen people in the mayoral primary election. Jefferson Smith and Charlie Hales are the two other front-runners. We spoke with Smith and Hales earlier this month.
Segmentarticle - Jan. 18, 2012
This election day, Portland voters will decide between the top two candidates for Portland City Commissioner Position No. 1: current City Commissioner Amanda Fritz and her challenger, Oregon State Representative Mary Nolan (D-Portland). Nolan and Fritz fought a fierce battle in the primary for this nonpartisan seat, and their general election contest has followed a similar pattern. There's arguably more differences between these two candidates than between the men vying for votes in the more high-profile mayoral race. Fritz and Nolan have sparred over police accountability, economic issues, the arts tax and more.
Segmentarticle - Oct. 25, 2012
39 days after Occupy Portland began, the city has closed Chapman and Lownsdale squares. 51 people were arrested as events unfolded on Sunday. The movement is regrouping and deciding on its next steps. Mayor Sam Adams has voiced support for the movement, and said he wants to be part of the conversation about where Occupy Portland should go next. He defended the sweep of the downtown parks as necessary for both public health and safety. So what happens next for Occupy Portland? Given the nature of the movement, that will be the topic of discussion at forthcoming General Assemblies before any concrete steps are taken. The mayor has suggested the movement needs to focus on national issues, like corporate personhood, in order to effect change for the 99%.
Segmentarticle - Nov. 15, 2011