The Director of City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR), Dante J. James, is urging Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to respond to recent reports in The Portland Mercury and The Oregonian as an opportunity for daily training and reminders. The newspapers reported that a Portland Police Officer used the word, “nigger,” during an interaction with a Black community member on October 5, 2013.
OEHR commends PPB for racial sensitivity training given to Command Staff and Sergeants that was organized by Portland’s Community and Police Relations Committee’s training subcommittee. For street officers who interact with community members every day, James recommends that PPB use this recent racial slur allegation as an opportunity to discuss professionalism at every roll call, in every training session, and in off-line discussions.
James reinforced to PPB leadership that the word, “nigger” can never be used by a White officer in interactions with someone on the street. He stated, “People will argue that it is a double standard because some Black people use the word. This is not an argument about who gets to use the word. This is an opportunity for PPB to remind its staff that ANY pejorative of this type is unacceptable. This is about professionalism, plain and simple, and this is the conversation that needs to happen.”
Chief Mike Reese responded positively to James and noted that he will be discussing this matter with PPB Leadership Staff immediately.