September 12, 2019 14:56
On Thursday, September 12, 2019, the Portland Police Bureau publicly posted the investigative file related to an investigation of Lieutenant Jeff Niiya and communications he had with members of the public.
This investigation stemmed from a series of news reports following the release of public information derived from two narrowly tailored public records requests. The investigation involved the review of the text messages between Lieutenant Niiya and event organizers from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs.
The investigation was reviewed by investigators with the Independent Police Review (IPR), a Captain, an Assistant Chief, the Police Review Board (which is comprised of community members and PPB members), and the Chief of Police. The Chief's finding on all allegations was "Unfounded," which means: The preponderance of evidence proves the allegation was false or devoid of fact or there was not a credible basis for a possible violation of policy or procedure.
There was not a sustained finding for any allegation at any level of review.
Prior to the completion of the investigation, several opportunities to strengthen and improve were identified and PPB proactively began making improvements without waiting for the investigation to be completed. Some areas of improvement were:
* Sending personnel to Canada in June for training about crowd liaisons,
* Creating and then conducted internal training on August 14 for crowd liaisons,
* Formalizing the expectations of the crowd liaisons with a Standard Operating Procedure,
* And obtaining new uniforms to increase transparency and communication; uniforms were rolled out for the August 17th demonstration.
* PPB is also undergoing a holistic review of its demonstration response by the National Police Foundation. They are reviewing PPB's response to demonstrations to assess tactics, communications, and policy, looking back to 2017.
The IPR investigation resulted in a recommendation for more formalized training.
The documents related to the investigation, including transcripts from interviews and communications between Lieutenant Niiya and a number of event organizers, are being posted so the public can review the material in a transparent manner. These documents and transcripts can be located here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/79770
"After an exhaustive review of communications between Lieutenant Jeff Niiya and a variety of community event organizers, I determined the allegations of violations of policy to be unfounded," said Chief Danielle Outlaw. "At every level of review there was not a sustained finding. It is important for the public to have the whole picture, which is one reason why we are publicly releasing the investigative files. I appreciate Lieutenant Niiya's professionalism and full cooperation with this investigation. This investigation has helped to shed light on his commitment to facilitate the freedom of speech and assembly for many with the overarching goal of maintaining public safety."
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