For the first time, The People will be able to weigh in on a proposed Settlement Agreement between the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division, and the City of Portland. Consult Hardesty provided evidence that was included in DoJ Findings of civil rights violations by Portland’s police bureau. In order to avoid trial, the City and DoJ engaged in hurried negotiations behind closed doors in late 2012.
We took the position that only a truly independent, citizen-based authority could be relied on to hold police accountable for illegal use of force. Portland City Council has never successfully disciplined an officer for such conduct. We were surprised to find the Agreement calls for $26,000,000 in new money for the perpetrators: Portland police are to be put in charge of assessing needs of those perceived to be in mental health crisis, not paramedics or others who, by training, can excel at such. Even though the DoJ declared ours a ‘self-defeating accountability system,’ they seek now an agreement to keep intact an IPR system police use to exonerate their behavior, and which generally refutes public complaints about misconduct.
Is this agreement fair, adequate and reasonable?
Click here for details on a Fairness Hearing scheduled for 18 February.
Please note: those who submit a Testimony Form by Friday, 31 January, will be given priority. All others will be heard ‘as time permits.’ This version can be completed online. This simpler version must be printed and then scanned before being returned to Mary_Austad@ord.uscourts.gov. We believe a simple email might be sufficient.
Judge Simon will allow individuals to testify for five minutes (a large improvement from the 120 seconds Mayor Adams permitted, over a document we had not seen, in 2012). What should interest our coalitional friends is that groups can have up to three members fill a half hour.