MINUTES: Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee
April 12, 2001
Citizen Advisors Present: Charles Ford, Presiding; Ric Alexander; Shirlie Karl; Leora Mahoney; Robert Wells; Les Frank; Jose Martinez; Dapo Sobomehin; Denise Stone; Robert Ueland
Citizen Advisors Absent: Tou Cha
City Staff Present: Capt. Bret Smith, IAD; LT Steve Bechard; IAD Sergeants; Michael Hess, PIIAC Examiner; Mayor Vera Katz (observing)
Media Present: Dan Handelman (Flying Focus Video)
This meeting was held in the Rose Room of the Portland City Hall.The meeting was opened at 4:00 p.m. PIIAC Citizen Advisors, City Staff, and members of the public introduced themselves.
PIIAC #00-03 (IAD #00-019)
The appellant was present. Citizen Advisor Les Frank presented this case, involving the appellant’s allegations that a Portland Police officer followed him too closely on a freeway, exceeded the speed limit, displayed road rage, and intimidated the appellant.
The appellant admitted that he did flash his high beam headlights at the officer when the officer passed him. He stated that he admitted this in traffic court, but it was his contention that the officer should have also received a citation for his actions, and he expected an apology from the officer.
Based on the facts of the case and the fact that this case had been adjudicated in a court of law, Mr. Frank made a motion to affirm the Police Bureau’s finding of "Conduct: Unfounded," with reservations as to the officer’s driving that made the appellant feel intimidated. Mr. Martinez seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously
(Yes = 8). (Ms. Stone and Mr. Ueland did not vote because they arrived late.)
Mr. Ford referred the advisors’ concerns about officer’s driving to the Monitoring Subcommittee for further discussion.
PIIAC #00-20 (IAD #00-287)
The appellant was present. Citizen Advisor Shirlie Karl presented this case. It involved allegations that an IAD investigator, aided and abetted by a precinct sergeant, lied in a police report; and that the IAD Captain and a Precinct Commander share culpability for the alleged false report due to their command status. This complaint was declined by IAD due to lack of merit.
After Ms. Karl read her examination report, the appellant was given an opportunity to present his side of the complaint. He began by asking the advisors questions about his constitutional rights. He was advised by Chairman Ford to present his case, and he refused to do so.
There was some discussion about referring the case directly to City Council since the appellant was not willing to present his case until his constitutional questions were answered. Ms. Karl then moved to recommend affiirmation of IAD’s decision to decline the complaint. Mr. Alexander seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously (Yes = 8, with one abstention.)
PIIAC #00-30 (IAD #99-173)
The appellant was present. Citizen Advisor Robert Wells presented this case. It involved allegations that two Portland Police officers, responding to a call for assistance by security officers in Pioneer Square, used excessive force in arresting a man who had been given an exclusion order for littering. It was further alleged that one of the officers rubbed a fast food tray in the man’s face and that the other officer used profanity toward bystanders.
The disposition of the complaints were the following:
- First officer: Use of Force: Exonerated; Courtesy: Insufficient Evidence; and Professional Conduct: Sustained
- Second officer: Use of Force: Exonerated; Courtesy: Unfounded.
After Mr. Wells read his examination report, the appellant was given an opportunity to present his side of the complaint. The appellant in this case was not the subject of the alleged misconduct but rather a witness.
After the advisors heard from the appellant and asked several questions, Mr. Wells moved to recomment affirmation of the Police Bureau’s findings. The motion was seconded by Ms. Karl and passed unanimously. (Yes = 10)
PIIAC #00-26 (IAD #00-430)
The appellant was present. Advisor Wells recused himself from the case because he was acquainted with the appellant and her family. Citizen Advisor Ric Alexander presented this case. The appellant’s allegations were that a Portland Police officer lied in a police report, refused to ament the report, and received inappropriate assistance from another officer in writing the report. This complaint was declined by IAD due to lack of merit.
After Mr. Alexander read his examination report, the appellant was given an opportunity to present her side of the complaint. Following this, the advisors asked questions and discussed the case. The appellant conceded that the officer had submitted a supplementary report at a later date, but claimed it was still unsatisfactory. After stating that she had proof that a second officer had inappropriately assisted the original officer in writing the police report, the appellant was unwilling to present this proof to the advisors.
Mr. Alexander moved to affirm IAD’s declination of this complaint for lack of merit. Mr. Ueland seconded the motion and it passed by unanimous vote. (Yes = 9, with one recusal.)
A community member felt there was not enough investigation of the first case involving the incident on I-5. She thought that IAD should have ascertained from ODOT whether or not there was construction in the left lane, as the officer testified, and should have checked with BOEC to see if the officer had been on a call.
A community member stated that his rights had been violated when he was told he had been trespassed from Northeast Precinct.
The Copwatch/Flying Focus Video representative objected to the Auditor’s proposal for changes in civilian review. He felt that the proposal shuts citizens out of the process. He stated that IAD did not make sufficient efforts to find witnesses for the case that happened at Pioneer Square. He felt that there was no justification for the escalation in the use of force merely over a candy wrapper that had been thrown on the ground.
A community member expressed dismay that the partner of the officer who rubbed a food tray in face of the man who was being arrested did not report this incident of misconduct.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Submitted by Michael H. Hess, D.D.S., PIIAC Examiner