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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

March 9, 2000

Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee
March 9, 2000
(Approved April 13, 2000)
Citizen Advisors Present: Charles Ford, Presiding; Denise Stone (Vice Chair); Robert Ueland; Ric Alexander; Jose Martinez; Dapo Sobomehin; Shirlie Karl; Robert Wells; Gene Bales; Les Frank; Tou Cha; Leora Mahoney
Citizen Advisors Absent: Kitsy Brown Mahoney
City Staff Present: Mayor Vera Katz; Chief Mark Kroeker; Capt. Bret Smith, IAD; Sgt. Jerry Jones, IAD; Sgt. Steve Bottcher, IAD; Sgt. Suzanne Whisler, IAD; Sgt. Vince Jarmer, IAD; Sgt. Jay Drum, IAD; Sgt. Chuck Shipley, IAD; Judy Taylor, IAD; Dr. Michael Hess, PIIAC Examiner
Media Present: Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch)
This meeting was held at the Bethel AME Church in Northeast Portland.
Mr. Ford opened the meeting at 6:00 p.m. PIIAC Citizen Advisors and City Staff introduced themselves.
Mayor Katz presented City of Portland award certificates to Mr. Ford, Mr. Ueland, and Mr. Wells for their outstanding volunteer commitment to PIIAC.
The minutes of the February 10, 2000, PIIAC meeting were amended and approved.
PIIAC #99-13 (IAD #99-044)
Citizen Advisor Ric Alexander presented this case. Appellant was present.
Appellant was annoyed that a police car was following him too closely on the freeway. When the police car passed him, the Appellant twice flashed his bright lights as an expression of annoyance. Officer A pulled the Appellant over and cited him for failure to dim his bright lights, which is a traffic violation in Oregon. The complaint was denied by IAD for lack of merit and because an independent arbiter (traffic court judge) had found the Appellant guilty of an infraction and had heard the Appellant’s complaint against Officer A.
Appellant admitted flashing his bright lights but thought that Officer A should have also been cited for following too closely, which the Appellant deemed a far more serious traffic violation than flashing one’s bright lights.
Mr. Alexander stated that the IAD investigation was thorough and complete and that the decision to deny the complaint was clearly stated in the letter of disposition. Mr. Alexander recommended in the form of a motion that the Advisors affirm the IAD declination.The motion was seconded by Advisor Leora Mahoney.
The motion carried unanimously [Y=12]
PIIAC #99-13 (IAD #99-044)
Citizen Advisor Robert Ueland presented this case. Appellant was present.
On May 2, 1998, the Appellant entered the Northeast Precinct lobby to videotape the lobby pursuant to a legal case that an acquaintance of his was involved in. There was a minor verbal altercation in the lobby, and the Appellant was warned that he would be asked to leave if he continued to be boisterous, as is stated in writing on a placard in the lobby. The Appellant continued to be somewhat loud and verbally confrontational. He was then handcuffed and placed in a holding cell while the detaining officer wrote a report of the incident and prepared a trespass citation for the Appellant. The Appellant asked to be "double handcuffed" due to a prior back injury. Officer A did not immediately comply with this request, but did so after writing the report.
On May 10, 1998, the Appellant asked Sergeant A via FAX if he could return to videotape the lobby. Sergeant A was not on duty that day. Sergeant B replied to the Appellant via FAX that the Appellant would not be permitted on the premises because he had been trespassed and warned him that he would be arrested if he entered the precinct building.
The following day the Appellant saw Sergeant B in court and asked him why he had not responded to his phone message. Sergeant B replied, "I had no reason to call you," since he had responded to the Appellant’s request by FAX.
Mr. Ueland stated in his assessment that IAD conducted a fair and thorough investigation.
The Appellant alleged that he should not have been asked to leave the Northeast Precinct lobby since he did not initiate the verbal confrontation and he had a legal right to videotape the surroundings. He alleged that he told Officer A that he had a prior injury and requested double handcuffing to alleviate the pressure on his back, but that Officer A ignored his request until much later.
After discussion, Mr. Ueland made a motion that the IAD findings be affirmed. The motion was seconded by Advisor Les Frank. The motion carried [Y=9]. Advisors Ford, Sobomehin, and Stone abstained.
.Other Business
Chairman Ford announced that the next meeting of the PIIAC advisory committee [April 13, 2000] would be held at 6:00 p.m. in the East Portland Community Center, 740 S.E. 106th Avenue.
Public Input
A citizen stated that more time needs to be allowed for Appellants to present their case and that taking time to hand out awards at the beginning of the meeting was not appropriate.
A citizen asked if police officers are ever fired for lying.
A citizen stated that when a police officer and a citizen make contradictory statements, PIIAC and IAD appears to generally give more credence to the police officer.
Mr. Handelman of Portland Copwatch stated that two Portland police officers were fired last year for lying. Mr. Handelman stated that a ballot initiative has been filed that proposes giving PIIAC broader powers than they currently have.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:15 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by
Michael H. Hess, D.D.S.
PIIAC Examiner