April 13, 2000
Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee
April 13, 2000
(Approved: May 11, 2000)
Citizen Advisors Present: Charles Ford, Presiding; Denise Stone (Vice Chair); Robert Ueland; Ric Alexander; Shirlie Karl; Robert Wells; Gene Bales; Les Frank; Leora Mahoney; Kitsy Brown Mahoney
Citizen Advisors Absent: Jose Martinez; Dapo Sobomehin; Tou Cha
City Staff Present: Capt. Bret Smith, IAD; Sgt. Steve Bottcher, IAD; Sgt. Suzanne Whisler, IAD; Sgt. Jay Drum, IAD; Dr. Michael Hess, PIIAC Examiner
Media Present: Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch); Janet Marcley-Hayes (Portland Free Press)
Mr. Ford opened the meeting at 6:10 p.m. PIIAC Citizen Advisors and City Staff introduced themselves.
The minutes of the March 9, 2000, PIIAC meeting were approved as written.
PIIAC Examiner Michael Hess announced that there would be only two cases heard tonight, since the Appellant for PIIAC Case 99-27 had called to say that he was sick.
PIIAC #00-04 (IAD #99-310)
PIIAC Examiner Michael Hess presented this case. Appellant was present.
Dr. Hess summarized the incident and the Appellant’s allegations. A Portland Police Officer (Officer A) was dispatched to assist the Siletz tribal police chief in recovering property belonging to the tribe at the Appellant’s residence. Appellant alleged that Officer A had no authority to assist in this action. She alleged that Officer A spoke and acted in an arrogant and threatening manner and that he failed to give the Appellant his police identification number when she asked him for it.
Dr. Hess stated that the Appellant was fully interviewed during the intake process and that the decision to deny the complaint was clearly stated in the letter of disposition. Based on his analysis, he recommended that the Advisors affirm IAD’s decision to decline the complaint.
Citizen Advisor Robert Ueland made a motion to have a vote on the combined recommendations of the examiner. Leora Mahoney seconded the motion. This motion was voted down (4 in favor, 6 opposed). Shirlie Karl made a motion to vote on each allegation separately. Kitsy Brown Mahoney seconded this. This motion carried.
The declination of the procedural aspect of the complaint (that Officer A lacked authority to assist the tribal police chief) carried unanimously. [Y=10]
The declination of the procedural aspect of the complaint (that Officer A intimidated the Appellant by showing up at her residence in uniform and with a police car) carried by majority vote. [Y=8, N=2]
The declination of the communications aspect of the complaint (that Officer A’s speech and demeanor were arrogant) carried by majority vote. [Y=8, N=2]
There was discussion among the advisors regarding Officer A’s failure to provide the appellant with his police identification number when asked. It was pointed out that this is a clear violation of the General Order on Identification, and that this behavior has been seen several times in the past. Captain Smith responded that he wrote a memorandum to the officer’s commander advising him that Officer A should be counseled about this.
PIIAC #00-06 (IAD #99-146)
Citizen Advisor Robert Wells presented this case. Appellant was present with her father.
Mr. Wells described an incident in which the Appellant was approached by a Portland traffic officer (Officer A) in court following a traffic accident. The Appellant alleged that Officer A’s display of angry words and demeanor in the courthouse was inappropriate and intimidating to her and her family.
The Appellant and her father expressed their frustrations with the internal investigation process and the lack of responsiveness and timeliness of the Traffic Division in completing the investigation. (The appellant’s father and the Appellant had filed a separate complaint against Officer A relating to his conduct at the site of the traffic accident.)
After discussion and some public input on this case, Mr. Ueland made a motion that the case be returned to IAD for reinvestigation, and that both complaints be looked at together since they were so closely related. Mr. Wells seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. [Y=10].
Chairman Ford announced that the next meeting of the PIIAC advisory committee would be held on May 11, 2000, at 6:30 p.m. in the Rose Room on the third floor of the Portland City Hall.
Dr. Hess announced that he had received the response of Chief Kroeker to the recommendations of the PIIAC Monitoring Subcommittee, and that the Chief had accepted all of the PIIAC recommendations.
Dan Handelman criticized Dr. Hess for stating in his presentation of the first case that "a reasonable person would not consider the mere presence of a uniformed police officer to be a threat." Mr. Handelman pointed out that in a recent Supreme Court opinion it was acknowledged that many persons do have a reason to feel intimidated by the mere presence of a police officer.
A previous PIIAC Appellant stated that he did not think that he had been given sufficient opportunity to present his side of his case. He asked the Advisors to consider letting him come back before them to further present his case. There was no motion made by any of the Advisors to do so.
A citizen read a letter to the PIIAC Advisors claiming that their decision in a previous PIIAC case was flawed.
A citizen stated that she feels that it may be a conflict of interest for an officer’s direct supervisor to be assigned an investigation on one of his or her employees.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by
Michael H. Hess, D.D.S.