CRC Members Present: Josephine Cooper, Loren Eriksson, Robert Milesnick, Sherrelle Owens, Robert Ueland, Lewellyn Robison (arrived at ), Marcella Red Thunder (arrived at )
CRC Members Absent: Hank Miggins, Michael Bigham
City Staff Present: Leslie Stevens (IPR Director), Michael Hess (IPR)
Portland Police Bureau Members Present: Captain John Tellis (IAD)
Robert Milesnick, acting as Chair, called the meeting to order at
I. Introductions and welcome
II. Approval of Minutes of 7/31/07CRC Meeting: Mr. Eriksson moved to approve the minutes as written. Ms. Cooper seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Approval of Minutes of 8/21/07CRC Meeting: Mr. Erickson moved to approve the minutes as written. Ms. Cooper seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
III. Director’s Report (Director Stevens)
• Appeals Update: No appeals are pending. Two persons have indicated intent to file an appeal but have not yet filed.
• There were no new PPB Directives.
• CRC Recruitment Update: 18 applications were received. The selection process has moved through the first stage of review. Sherrelle Owens participated in the initial review process. Finalists are scheduled for interviews this week. The goal is to have potential new members identified with enough certainty that they can enroll in the next Citizens’ Academy, which begins in mid-October.
IV. Workgroup Updates
• Tow Policy Workgroup (Loren Eriksson). The Chief’s response to the Tow Policy Report was received. The workgroup will finalize the report and present it to the CRC at the October meeting to review prior to voting on it at the November meeting.
[Ms. Robison arrived at this point and assumed the role of acting Chair.]
• Protocol Workgroup (Lewellyn Robison). The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, 9/24/07, at The primary goal will be to finalize PSF-5.23 CRC Member Duties and Responsibilities to have it ready for a vote at the October 16 CRC meeting.
• Bias Based Policing Workgroup (Sherrelle Owens). The workgroup has completed its file review work plan. The workgroup will meet tomorrow at to decide on the timeline for the file review. After tomorrow’s workgroup meeting, the workgroup will have its work plan ready for the full CRC to review.
• PARC Report Review Workgroup (Loren Eriksson). The group has not yet decided on a meeting date for their first meeting. They anticipate meeting at least once before the next CRC meeting. The workgroup members are Loren Eriksson, Michael Bigham, Marcella Red Thunder, and Josephine Cooper.
V. Old Business:
• Mr. Eriksson read into the record the memorandum from the Police Bureau to the CRC Chair on the CRC recommendations that came out of the hearings that were held in June of this year (2007-X-0004 and 2007-X-0005). The memorandum was as follows:
“The recommendations forwarded by you from the appeal filed by [appellant’s name] concerning IAD case numbers 2006-C-0026 and 2006-C-0049 were accepted by Commanders Foxworth and Maciag.
“In case 2006-C-0026, allegations 2, 5, and 7 were changed from unfounded to insufficient evidence. Allegation 10 was split into two allegations with the second portion (referred to [as] 10a) being insufficient evidence.
“In case 2006-C-0049, allegations 3 and 4 were changed from unfounded to insufficient evidence.
“The records maintained by the Internal Affairs Division will be updated to reflect this change.”
Acting Chair Robison asked Mr. Eriksson if he was comfortable that the response was what CRC requested. Mr. Eriksson responded, “Yes, I am.” Director Stevens offered to print a copy of the changes in the case file for CRC members.
Mr. Ueland asked about the questions that were asked of the City Attorney at the last meeting that he said he would research and get back to them on. Director Stevens replied that Chair Miggins asked her to make a presentation, but they decided to set this over since some CRC members would not be at tonight’s meeting. This presentation will include a general overview of the hearing process and discussion to determine where additional guidance is needed. Mr. Ueland noted that liability questions are one of the issues of concern.
• Ms. Owens said she asked in the July 31 meeting if someone would be asked to present to the CRC on the results of the Police Bureau’s pilot projects. Director Stevens said that people from one of the pilot projects had been scheduled to speak at tonight’s meeting, but they cancelled at the last minute due to a scheduling conflict.
• Ms. Cooper again suggested inviting the Theater of the Oppressed to come to a CRC meeting and engage the CRC members in an interactive activity. Director Stevens encouraged Ms. Cooper to make the arrangements for this, since IPR does not have an outreach coordinator at this time. Mr. Eriksson reminded CRC members that anyone may propose presentations for future CRC meetings.
VI. New Business:
• Ms. Owens proposed as a future agenda item that more information be provided to CRC regarding the recent changes in Police Bureau findings, with “insufficient evidence” and “unfounded” being collapsed into the finding of “unproven.”
VII. Tracking List:
• Mr. Ueland said he wanted to add to the tracking list that there is currently no policy that outlines whose responsibility it is to secure the home and property of a person who is placed in custody at their residence.
• Ms. Robison asked Mr. Milesnick if he could provide CRC with a copy of the tracking list, and he agreed to do so.
• Ms. Owens asked Mr. Milesnick to add review of pilot projects.to the tracking list.
• Ms. Owens suggested including a Tracking List status and update as a regular agenda item after workgroup updates.
VIII. Public Comments
• Ms. Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters) said she was pleased that next month’s agenda would include a discussion of the changes in Police Bureau findings. Ms. Aiona would like the CRC go back to their prior practice of assigning appeal hearings to two CRC members, who would then orally present the case to the full CRC at the time of the hearing. She also suggested that a written statement from the appellant be read at hearings when the appellant does not appear. She suggested that holding a “mock” hearing might be useful.
• Mr. Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch) said that the ordinance states that when CRC gives recommendations to the Chief, and the Chief does not respond within 60 days, the item should be put on the Council agenda. He said the ordinance is not clear on whether the Chief should be given the draft recommendations to comment on. He said that this may allow the Chief to take more than two months to respond, as happened with the Tow Policy Report.
• Ms. Darleane Lemley (League of Women Voters) suggested that appellants be notified in writing when CRC’s recommendations for changing findings are accepted by the Police Bureau. (Director Stevens stated that appellants are routinely provided written notice of this.)
IX. Wrap-up Comments
Ms. Owens asked why CRC presents its draft recommendations to the Police Chief before publishing them. Director Stevens said this is a standard auditing practice and is a way of ensuring that the facts in the draft are correct.
Ms. Red Thunder spoke at length about various topics. She expressed her concern that the minutes of the 8/21/07CRC meeting left off her name among those present at the meeting. She disagreed with the statement in the minutes that “Ms. Red Thunder stated it is disrespectful in her culture to eat in front of others.” She explained that what she said was that it is disrespectful to have a few people eating, but not everybody. She said that in her culture, everybody is offered food.
Ms. Red Thunder said she wanted to let the CRC members know about her personal efforts to try to understand what appellants go through. She said that after witnessing an incident of police harassment in her neighborhood, she had the person involved in the incident call IPR the next day. She also accompanied him to court to contest the citation he received. She said that on Labor Day she witnessed a police harassment of a sixteen-year-old in her neighborhood, but the young man did not want to file a complaint. She feels that the appellants need CRC members to know what they go through and how to help them.
Ms. Red Thunder said that, for the record, she wants to let the CRC members know what she is going through and what is going on. She said that she feels apart from the group, and the minutes made it worse by making it look like the only comment she made at the meeting was that it is disrespectful in her culture to eat in front of others. She said it is important for her to be taken very seriously because of the effort she puts into being a CRC member on a daily basis in her community.
After listening to Ms. Red Thunder’s comments, Ms. Owens made a motion to amend section XI of the 8/21/07 minutes to read: “Ms. Red Thunder stated that it is disrespectful in her culture to not offer to make a meal available to everyone but for some to just eat in front of others.” Mr. Ueland seconded the motion.
Ms. Owens asked Ms. Red Thunder if this amended statement would be acceptable to her. Ms. Red Thunder replied that the bottom line for her is “that we understand that each of us brings something hopefully completely different” in representing their communities in the CRC. She repeated that her statement at the 8/21/07 meeting was not just about the food. She said, “There are a lot of things that different cultures and different people have problems with,” and the CRC needs to pay attention to things that might make people uncomfortable. She said that she just wanted to get across that there are differences between cultures and there are things that might offend people and keep them from coming to or participating in meetings. She said that the bottom line is that everyone who comes to the meetings is after the same thing and that we are all one. She said that what she wanted to say was that in her culture, everybody eats together, and then they can think better and do things together.
Ms. Owens asked Ms. Red Thunder if what she was saying is that it is disrespectful in her culture to not offer a meal to everyone but for part of us to eat in front of others. Ms. Red Thunder replied, “That’s exactly it…” She said she was just using food as an analogy to illustrate how important it is for the CRC to be able to bring this kind of thing to the table, “because we can’t know how to help them if they don’t talk to us.” Ms. Red Thunder said she was using the issue of food as an example of the deeper issue “of the different types of people that we have coming here.” She said, “We’re trying to make them comfortable and trying to give them an avenue to get support. However, it’s very difficult to relate where you come from and how you are, especially if you’re not comfortable in this whole set-up.” She said that the difficult part of representing people is understanding “where they come from and getting them to open up to us so that we can help them.”
Ms. Red Thunder agreed the proposed amendment of her statement in the previous minutes would be acceptable to her as long as her explanation of what she meant to say is reflected in the minutes of this meeting.
The motion to amend the minutes of the 8/21/07 meeting passed by a vote of 6-1.
Yes: Cooper, Milesnick, Owens, Red Thunder, Robison, Ueland
Mr. Milesnick made a motion to amend the 8/21/07 minutes to correct the error of inadvertently leaving Ms. Red Thunder’s name off the list of attendees and showing Mr. Milesnick as both present and absent for the meeting. Mr. Eriksson seconded the motion. The motion passed 6-0, with one abstention (Milesnick).
Ms. Owens said that she appreciated that Ms. Red Thunder brought to the table her experience because it reminds the committee of “why we’re here and what we’re here for.”
Ms. Robison said there needs to be a greater effort to advertise the CRC meetings and to let people know where the meetings are to be held, for example in the neighborhood newspapers. Director Stevens said that the meeting notices are published on the City website, the press is notified, it is announced at the prior meeting, and the outreach coordinator does extensive directed outreach when the meetings take place in community locations. The Director said CRC should give additional outreach suggestions to IPR.
Mr. Milesnick said that he does not believe that the problem with poor meeting attendance by the public is lack of publicity, but rather because meetings are not held in a consistent place. He said that he believes that meetings would be better attended if they were held in the same central location every month. Ms. Cooper agreed with Mr. Milesnick. Director Stevens agreed to schedule the meetings wherever the CRC wants them.
Ms. Aiona suggested that CRC should find well established groups that meet on a regular basis and at times invite themselves to their meetings in lieu of having a CRC meeting. The purpose of this would be to listen to other community groups, to inform them of what CRC does, and to invite their comments. Ms. Aiona suggested that the CRC should work with the new outreach coordinator to develop a new strategy, because the current strategy is not producing the desired results.
Ms. Owens agreed with the concept of having some “open forum” meetings rather than the traditionally structured meetings. Director Stevens stated that the only limitation they have is the requirement in the ordinance that the CRC schedule and conduct at least four meetings for year for the purpose of exercising their delegated authority. She reminded the committee that they also have a requirement under the code regarding outreach, to disseminate information about their activities to organizations in the community.
Ms. Owens suggested that a future agenda include discussion of the idea of an open forum and that CRC should begin to research different groups that they might want to connect with and have joint meetings with.