The City fell short in its support of the Citizen Review Committee at a March 30 appeal hearing in which audience members marred the proceedings with disruptive behavior. The Committee is an 11-member volunteer board that brings a community perspective to Portland's police oversight system. I attended last night's meeting to apologize on behalf of the City for not meeting the Committee's expectations. Here's the text of what I said:
I am here to address what occurred at the last meeting and apologize to the Committee for the City’s failure to meet your expectations. You should expect a safe and respectful space in which to conduct your volunteer service on behalf of the City. You should expect procedural advice that enables you to hear both sides of a dispute and render an impartial decision.
You got neither on March 30.
I specifically want to apologize to Kristin Malone, who unbeknown to me or IPR Director Severe, received incorrect legal advice that she could not exclude people from the hearing room for disruptive behavior. You did a heroic job of keeping the meeting on track under difficult conditions. Chair Malone received undeserved criticism after the meeting because she acted on the last-minute advice she was given. For that, I apologize.
I also want to apologize to Jim Young, who was the victim of a hostile act by an angry audience member who disagreed with his vote. That is beyond unacceptable.
I also want to acknowledge something that may have gotten lost in the post-meeting analyses. Under adverse circumstances, you provided an invaluable service to the people of Portland by fulfilling your vital role in the police oversight system. You asked good questions and listened respectfully to the answers. You thoughtfully wrestled with the issues and rendered a decision.
Thank you for the many hours you put in on the City’s behalf.
--Mary Hull Caballero