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The City of Portland, Oregon

Independent Police Review

Independent Police Review is a police oversight agency, and is independent and autonomous from the Portland Police Bureau.

phone: 503-823-0146

fax: 503-823-4571

1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 140, Portland, OR 97204

October 10, 1996

Police Internal Investigations
Auditing Committee (PIIAC)
City of Portland
OCTOBER 10, 1996

Citizen Advisors Present: Charles Ford, Presiding; Marina Anttila, David Burney, Todd Olson, Emily Simon, Robert Ueland, Marjory Wagner, Randy Weisberg
Citizen Advisors Absent: Etta Baker, Deborah Haring, Ingrid Slezak
City Staff Present: Lisa Botsko, PIIAC Staff; Adrianne Brockman, Deputy City Attorney; Capt. C.W. Jensen, IAD
Media Present: Dan Handelman and Hyung Nam, Flying Focus Video and POPSG
Ford called the meeting to order. A couple of changes were made to the September minutes. Burney moved to approve the minutes as amended; Weisberg seconded. The motion carried [Y-7].
Ford asked that a Vice-Chair be elected and opened the floor for nominations. Olson nominated Simon for Vice-Chair; Burney seconded. No other nominations were forthcoming. The motion carried unanimously [Y-7].
Ford asked about scheduling another outreach advisory meeting; Botsko advised that she was working with Neighbors West/Northwest to have the November meeting scheduled in that area. Burney offered the use of the new East Precinct building.
[Anttila arrived.]
Simon said that the advisors needed to choose someone to attend Chief's Forum. Wagner volunteered.
Appeal #96-14: This appeal was continued from last month. The appellant said he would provide a letter to the committee, written by his neighbor who had been interviewed as part of the complaint investigation. She had told him that she had actually been interviewed several times and felt that the questions were overly leading. Botsko had since obtained and distributed this letter; the signature was illegible and she had been unsuccessful in contacting the neighbor/witness.
Wagner made a motion to support PPB's finding of Unfounded; Burney seconded. The motion carried [Y-8].
Appeal #96-16: At the appellant's request, this appeal hearing will be postponed until November. Simon announced that she has a conflict in this case and had asked that materials related to the appeal be withheld from her.
Appeal #96-17: Olson summarized. The appellant was protesting his exclusion from Tri-Met. Officer A had yelled at him to shut up, although officer and appellant testimony verified that the appellant kept talking over the officer and would not be quiet. The appellant also protested officers confiscating his bus pass and failing to issue a property receipt. During the investigation of this complaint, PPB and Tri-Met personnel determined that no legal authority existed to confiscate the bus pass, and were changing this policy. The officers should have issued a property receipt, but the Tri-Met Division took responsiblity for that because the officers were doing what they had been trained to do, and what all officers in that unit had been doing for years.
Olson wanted the Review Level Committee to review this case; he did not agree with PPB's view that the officers were not individually responsible for the failure to issue a property receipt.
The appellant addressed the committee. He did not think it fair that he had not had a chance to read and sign the report the advisors were reading. Advisors attempted to explain that it was a summary for their use only but the appellant still protested. He showed the advisors documents relating to past problems he had with Tri-Met, and the Tri-Met rules. He spoke about Tri-Met policy and disputed having yelled at the bus driver. The whole incident was unfair because the bus driver, officers and Tri-Met inspectors were Caucasian and he is not.
Weisberg said he saw three issues in the complaint. He was satisfied that the first, the merits of the exclusion, had been thoroughly investigated. PPB is clarifying the policy regarding the confiscation of the pass, and the third issue was the officers' failure to issue a property receipt.
Burney said he did not think advisors should be judging that. Simon asked if PPB command staff had reviewed this case; Capt. Jensen said that Assistant Chief Roberta Webber had.
The appellant interjected that the legislature gave Tri-Met the policies and the Bureau's response to his complaint was not good enough. Simon said the appellant had prevailed and did not realize it. She thinks the PPB has done enough.
Weisberg said that he wanted to see an IAD finding with respect to the officers' failure to issue a property receipt. He moved to refer the case back to IAD in order for a finding to be made; Olson seconded. Simon added a friendly amendment to allow IAD to recategorize the complaint (from an Inquiry) so that a more formal finding could be applied.
Botsko explained that if the complaint were to be reclassified somehow, Capt. Ratcliff would still make a finding, not IAD. Capt. Jensen explained the purpose of classifying a complaint as an Inquiry.
Simon said that the question is whether the officers should be held individually accountable. She thought the complaint should be re-categorized so that they could be.
The motion carried [Y-8].
Recommendation to Deny Appeal Request: Simon said that an appeal request had been received from an appellant who had a previous appeal heard by the advisory committee. [The committee had voted unanimously to uphold the PPB's decision to decline the complaint; the appellant requested a hearing before the full PIIAC, who accepted the advisors' recommendation.]
Simon said that as Chair of the Appeals Subcommittee, she recommended denying this second appeal for several reasons. Historically, the advisory committee has rejected situations in which they are asked to consider the accuracy of a police report. Also, the committee is unable to satisfy his request for a copy of the disputed report. Simon did not believe this appeal brought forth any new issues, and she did not want to go over the same territory.
Weisberg asked about the appeals subcommittee. Simon said that more appeals used to be rejected when the advisors had no staff to assist them, and Botsko had called her about this recent appeal because it appeared to duplicate some of the same issues that were brought forth in the first appeal. Ford said that Botsko had also contacted him about the case and he agreed with Simon.
Simon moved to reject the appeal; Olson seconded. The motion carried [Y-8].
Monitoring Report: Ueland reported. He said that the monitoring subcommittee needs more participants. He asked for feedback on the draft of the 3rd Quarter 1996 Monitoring Report.
Capt. Jensen commented on the recommendation that disposition letters authored by precinct and division commanders reflect IAD's review and concurrence. He said that in case #96-17, he had NOT agreed with that letter and consequently, a questionable policy was reviewed and a second disposition letter issued. Weisberg said that the IAD review should happen before final disposition letters are mailed out. Jensen said the advisors may want to make this recommendation. Olson suggested that the letters could also be signed by IA.
Ueland pointed out the section in the monitoring report on the mediation program. He wanted that section to reflect advisors' concerns about the project, and that if improvement is not noted, the advisors would protest. Weisberg said the Neighborhood Mediation Center's presentation to advisors in August was appalling. Simon did not feel the wording was strong enough and requested that it be made more so.
Simon moved to approve the monitoring report as amended; Anttila seconded. The motion carried unanimously [Y-8].
New Business:
Olson said he would like to form an ad hoc subcommittee to evaluate the Mayor's changes to PIIAC -- is the committee on target? He hoped to have a report ready to present to Council in January or February. Possibly the committee could take testimony as part of this. Botsko said she had a list of stakeholders, or people on the mailing list who followed PIIAC's progress, that she could share for purposes of the review.
Olson so moved. Simon seconded. The motion carried [Y-8]. Several advisors volunteered for the subcommittee.
Burney announced that even though his term expires in November, the East Portland District Coalition has been dissolved. He will continue participating until he is replaced.
Public Input:
Dan Handelmann, POPSG, introduced Hyung Nam who will be assisting him with Flying Focus Video. He said he was encouraged by this evening's meeting. He liked the idea of reviewing the Mayor's Initiative.
He recommended a minor change in terminology in the monitoring report. Advisors were agreeable.
At the November meeting, he will present a report on his own experiences with the police-citizen mediation project. He will be participating in a mediation next week.
He said he agreed with the finding on #96-17.
Ford asked Capt. Jensen if the appellant could be reimbursed for his bus pass; Jensen said that he could contact Risk Management about that. Simon pointed out that the appellant had not attended his own exclusion hearing.
The meeting adjourned.
Respectfully submitted,
Lisa Botsko
PIIAC Examiner