February 10, 2000
Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee
February 10, 2000
(Approved March 9, 2000)
Citizen Advisors Present: Charles Ford, Presiding; Denise Stone (Vice Chair); Robert Ueland; Ric Alexander; Jose Martinez; Dapo Sobomehin; Kitsy Brown Mahoney; Shirlie Karl; Robert Wells; Gene Bales; Les Frank; Leora Mahoney
Citizen Advisors Absent: Tou Cha
City Staff Present: Capt. Bret Smith, IAD; Sgt. Jerry Jones, IAD; Sgt. Steve Bottcher, IAD; Dr. Michael Hess, PIIAC Examiner
Media Present: Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch)
Mr. Ford opened the meeting at 6:00 p.m. PIIAC Citizen Advisors and City Staff introduced themselves.
The minutes of the January 13, 2000, PIIAC meeting were approved.
PIIAC #99-25 (IAD #98-195)
PIIAC Examiner Michael Hess presented this case. Appellant was not present.
Appellant was arrested after midnight on January 28, 1998, for intentionally spitting tobacco juice on a police car. Appellant alleged that:
That officers tackled him and took him to the ground.
That officers slammed his head on the ground.
That officers took turns performing ten knee drops to his back.
That officers slammed him against the police car.
That one of the officers called him a "loser" and a "piece of shit."
That officers did not return a bottle of beer to him or provide him with a property receipt.
Dr. Hess stated in his assessment that Sergeant Bottcher's IAD investigation was meticulous and thorough.
Dr. Hess noted that his first impression of the interview of Officer A was that it contained leading questions. However, after re-listening to the audiotape and asking one of the Citizen Advisors to listen to the tape as well, it was clear that the investigator had opened the interview with open-ended questions. The questions that initially appeared to be leading were necessary and specifically designed to address each of the Appellant's allegations. They only appear to be leading if taken out of context.
Dr. Hess recommended affirmation of the IAD findings of Exonerated regarding Use of Force; Insufficient Evidence regarding Procedure; and Unfounded regarding Communication.
It was moved and seconded to accept the Examiner's recommendations. The motion carried unanimously [Y=12]
PIIAC #99-27 (IAD #99-014)
Citizen Advisor Ric Alexander presented this case. Appellant was not present.
On December 10, 1998, a PPB detective (Sergeant A) went to the Appellant's hotel room to interview the Appellant's "step-son" regarding a robbery. When the stepson confessed the the robbery, the detective decided to call for back-up and arrest the stepson the Appellant made the following allegations:
That Officer B (the back-up officer) socked the Appellant's girlfriend and pushed over a chair.
That Officer B knocked the Appellant over a bedroll and threatened him with his baton.
That Officer B hit the stepson in the stomach with his baton and kicked him in the hip. That Officer B made a derogatory comment about the Appellant's girlfriend.
That Sergeant A socked the stepson several times on his face and head.
Mr. Alexander stated in his assessment that the IAD had conducted a thorough and proper investigation. He noted an improvement in timeliness but that it did not meet PPB's timeliness guidelines.
Mr. Alexander recommended affirmation of the IAD findings of Insufficient Evidence regarding Use of Force by Sergeant A; Exonerated regarding Use of Force by Officer B; Exonerated regarding Communication by Officer B Procedure. Mr. Alexander recommended that IAD Letters of Disposition clearly state the outcome of the investigation, using the correct terminology to state the findings.
After a lengthy discussion on whether Officer B's statements regarding the Appellant's girlfriend should have been categorized as "Disparate Treatment," the Advisors agreed that there was no clear evidence of disparate treatment.
It was moved and seconded to accept the Examiner's recommendations. The motion carried [Y=11]. Advisor Stone abstained.
PIIAC #99-28 (IAD #99-179)
Citizen Advisor Robert Wells presented this case. Appellant was not present.
On July 16, 1999, three PPB officers responded to a 911 call regarding a reported disturbance at the Appellant's residence. The Appellant made the following allegations in his complaint to IAD:
That the officers unlawfully detained him outside of his home.
That the officers assisted the Appellant's estranged wife in theft of tools of his trade, firearms, and other items.
That the officers failed to provide their names or "badge numbers" when requested.
Mr. Wells stated in his assessment that the IAD and the Northeast Precinct had conducted a thorough and timely interview. IAD Sergeant Bottcher's intake interviews were so complete and thorough that the precinct investigator did not need to re-interview the Appellant. The only deficiencies noted by Advisor Wells were a dictated memo from a precinct lieutenant that had not been transcribed for the file and an interview audiotape from another case that had been misplaced in this file.
Mr. Wells recommended affirmation of the IAD findings of Insufficient Evidence regarding Procedure for all three officers. He advised IAD to carefully monitor precinct investigation packages for completeness.
Advisor Wells recommended that Commander Foxworth and the Northeast Precinct staff be commended for their timeliness in completing the investigation of this case.
It was moved and seconded to accept the Advisor's recommendations. The motion carried unanimously [Y=12].
Chairman Ford announced that the next meeting of the PIIAC advisory committee [March 9, 2000] would be held at 6:00 p.m. in the Bethel A&E Church, 5828 NE 8th Avenue.
Advisor Stone opened discussion regarding the formation of a PIIAC Community Outreach Subcommittee. The charge of this subcommittee would be to arrange for community meeting sites for PIIAC meetings and to provide speakers for groups that request presentations regarding PIIAC. Several Advisors expressed the opinion that only the PIIAC staff person should make public statements regarding PIIAC. It was decided to pursue formation of the subcommittee with the agreement that the subcommittee would consult with the Deputy City Attorney before making any public appearances or statements regarding PIIAC. Advisor Stone and Advisor Karl volunteered to serve as members of the subcommittee.
A citizen stated that it would be advisable to have poster boards explaining the PIIAC process to the Appellant and the public. She also stated that sufficient time needs to be allotted for members of the public who want to make a statement following the appeals.
Mr. Handelman of Portland Copwatch said that in his opinion Dr. Hess had shown lack of objectivity in presenting the first case of the evening by mentioning that the Appellant was arrested for spitting on a police car on night of the same day that Officer Colleen Waibel had been killed in the line of duty. Mr. Handelman reiterated his advice that the Advisors clearly state the IAD findings when presenting their recommendations.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by
Michael H. Hess, D.D.S.