Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee
October 12, 2000
Citizen Advisors Present: Charles Ford, Presiding; Denise Stone (Vice Chair); Robert Ueland; Ric Alexander; Shirlie Karl; Leora Mahoney; Jose Martinez; Robert Wells; Dapo Sobomehin; Gene Bales; Kitsy Brown Mahoney
Citizen Advisors Absent: Les Frank; Tou Cha
City Staff Present: Capt. Bret Smith, Sgt. Suzanne Whisler, Sgt. Steve Bottcher, IAD Sgt. Jay Drum, IAD; Sgt. Jerry Jones, IAD; Sgt. Sam Pronesty; Michael Hess, PIIAC Examiner
Media Present: Dan Handelman (Flying Focus Video)
This meeting was held in the Rose Room of the Portland City Hall.
Mr. Ford opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m. PIIAC Citizen Advisors and City Staff and members of the public introduced themselves.
PIIAC #00-01 (IAD #99-270)
The Appellant was not present. PIIAC Examiner Michael H. Hess, DDS, presented this case, involving the arrest of the Appellant’s son for an outstanding warrant and the placement of the Appellant’s granddaughter in protective custody.
- That a Portland Police officer had been harassing the Appellant’s son because of alleged drug activity and had been making wild accusations that the Appellant’s son’s house was a drug house.
- That Officer A told Appellant’s twelve-year-old granddaughter what "no-good SOBs" he and his son were.
- That the child’s maternal grandfather heard Officer A tell his twelve-year-old granddaughter that the Appellant was a "no-good slime bag piece of shit" and that her father was a "piece of shit" and should be in jail and that the Appellant should be in jail with him.
- That officers intentionally waited until the Appellant’s son was released from the penitentiary to serve a 3-year arrest warrant on him and that the officers pushed their way into the house and searched it without consent.
Dr. Hess stated that the investigation was flawed by having been assigned to the officer’s shift sergeant to conduct the investigation, despite the fact that this sergeant had been on scene with the officer when the incident took place. Dr. Hess pointed out that this was an apparent conflict of interest and that the investigation should have been assigned by the precinct to a different supervisor.
Based on the facts of the case, Dr. Hess’s recommended affirmation of Internal Affairs Division’s decision to decline the PROCEDURE aspect of the complaint. He also recommended affirmation of the findings of INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE regarding COMMUNICATION and EXONERATED regarding CONDUCT. Due to the apparent conflict of interest, he recommended referral of this case to the PIIAC Monitoring Subcommittee to deal with the issue of a precinct assigning a case for investigation to a supervisor who was directly involved in the incident in question.
Mr. Ueland made a motion to accept the recommendations of the Examiner, and Mr. Wells seconded the motion. The motion passed by majority vote.
Yes = 9 (Ford, Ueland, Wells, Mahoney, Brown-Mahoney, Bales, Sobomehin, Martinez, Karl)
No =2 (Stone, Alexander)
PIIAC #00-11 (IAD #99-159)
The Appellant was present. PIIAC Advisor Ric Alexander presented the case. The Appellant alleged that Portland Police officers who were arresting him for Disorderly Conduct used excessive force in handcuffing him, resulting in hairline fractures and bone chips in both elbows; that an officer tackled him after he had been handcuffed; that an officer sprayed pepper spray directly into his eyes; that officers laughed when he requested medical attention; and that officers wrote false police reports.
The Appellant further alleged during his oral presentation to the PIIAC Advisors that his arrest involved a police conspiracy against him and that a noninterested witness to the incident had been paid by the police to testify falsely against him.
The PIIAC advisors, after listening to the Appellant’s verbal allegations, voted unanimously to uphold the Police Bureau’s findings in this case (Use of Force: Exonerated; Conduct: Unfounded.)
As the Appellant boisterously left the room, Dr. Hess informed him that he had the right to appeal the Advisors’ decision to the full PIIAC (City Council) if submitted within thirty days in writing. The Appellant did not respond.
Chairman Ford announced that the next meeting of the PIIAC advisory committee would be held on December 12, 2000 in the Rose Room of the Portland City Hall. Since the next meeting was expected to be a longer meeting than usual with a possibility of four cases, the Advisors agreed to begin the meeting at 5:30 p.m. rather than 6:30 p.m.
There was discussion about having a training session for Advisors some time after Mike Hess and Robert Wells return from the course in Police Internal Investigations in November. Captain Smith offered to have IAD staff provide part of the training.
A community member publicly criticized the Advisors for their decision to uphold an investigation that involved apparent conflict of interest rather than sending the case back to be investigated by a different supervisor.
Another community member repeated the latter criticism and expressed his objections to the current system of oversight. He also asserted that the Police Bureau should not involved in the training of PIIAC advisors.
Dan Handelman again suggested that there should be a prepared form for Appellants to submit to appeal a decision to the City Council. He also supported bringing in trainers from outside of the Police Bureau, such as defense attorneys.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by
Michael H. Hess, D.D.S.