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August 18, 2009

Minutes

Citizen Review Committee

August 18, 2009

 

Date Approved: September 15, 2009

 

Meeting Location: Lovejoy room, Portland City Hall

 

CRC Members Present: Hank Miggins (Vice-chair), Loren Eriksson, JoAnn Jackson, Lewellyn Robison, Rochelle Silver

 

CRC Member Absent:  Michael Bigham (excused), Mark Johnson (approved)

 

City staff: LaVonne Griffin-Valade (City Auditor), Mary-Beth Baptista (IPR Director), Constantin Severe (IPR), Irene Konev (IPR), Michael Hess (IPR), Linly Rees (Deputy City Attorney), Shannon Callahan (Commissioner Saltzman’s Office)

 

Police Bureau:  Captain David Famous (IAD), Lynn Courtney (IAD), Cordes Towle (IAD), Scott Westerman (PPA), David Dobler (PPA)

 

Community/Media:  Dan Handelman (Portland CopWatch), Regina Hannon (Portland CopWatch), Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters), James Pitkin (Willamette Week

 

I.      Vice-chair Miggins called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm.

 

II.     Introductions and welcome.

 

III.   Approval of 7/21/09 minutes: Ms. Robison moved that the minutes be approved. Mr. Eriksson seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

 

IV.   Appeal Hearing for CRC Appeal No. 2009-C-0002 (IPR/IAD No. 2008-C-0037)

 

Ms. Rees reviewed the rules for hearings and the standard of proof. Mr. Miggins outlined the hearing process. Ms. Silver read a synopsis of the complaint, which had been prepared by Mr. Johnson: 

 

On November 9, 2007, police responded to a call at the Appellant’s residence. Officers A and B talked to the Appellant, who reported that another resident had tried to assault her. The officers were unable to determine that a crime had taken place. Appellant alleged that Officer A wrongfully failed to make an arrest and that he threatened to arrest Appellant if he had to come back again. Appellant also alleged that both officers discriminated against the Appellant based on Appellant’s  perceived sexual orientation. On November 12, 2007, Officers A and B responded to another call at the same address, together with Officer C.A third resident of the apartment complex accused Appellant of violating a stalking order. Officer A interviewed the accuser and other witnesses while Officers B & C waited with the Appellant outside the building.  Based on Officer A’s interviews with the accuser and other witnesses, Officers B & C took the Appellant into custody. Appellant alleged that Officers A and B failed to conduct an adequate investigation, that Officer A inappropriately seized Appellant’s video camera, and that Officers B & C used unnecessary force in detaining Appellant.  Following a full investigation by IAD, the Police Bureau found that the officers were EXONERATED on all six allegations. The Appellant appealed the findings on allegations one through five. She did not appeal the finding on allegation #6 regarding excessive force.

 

The appellant provided testimony. The involved officers were not present for the hearing. The commander who recommended the findings was not present due to recent hospitalization. Following the appellant’s testimony, there were follow-up questions and discussion by CRC; public testimony from Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch); a statement by PPA President Westerman; and a final statement from the appellant. 

 

Vice-chair Miggins called for a motion regarding the first allegation, that Officer A failed to arrest a co-tenant who allegedly assaulted the appellant. Ms. Robison made a motion to affirm the Police Bureau’s finding of Exonerated. Mr. Eriksson seconded the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4-1.  

 

               Yes:  Eriksson, Miggins, Robison, Silver

                No:   Jackson

 

Vice-chair Miggins called for a motion regarding the second allegation, that Officer A threatened to arrest the appellant if he had to come to her apartment building again.  Mr. Eriksson made a motion to affirm the Police Bureau’s finding of Exonerated. Ms. Silver seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.   

 

Vice-chair Miggins called for a motion regarding the third allegation, that Officers A and B discriminated against the appellant based on her sexual orientation. Ms. Silver made a motion to affirm the Police Bureau’s finding of Exonerated. Mr. Eriksson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Vice-chair Miggins called for a motion regarding the fourth allegation, that Officers A and B Officers A and B failed to conduct an adequate investigation. Ms. Robison made a motion to affirm the Police Bureau’s  finding of Exonerated. Mr. Eriksson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.   

 

Vice-chair Miggins called for a motion regarding the fifth allegation, that  Officer A inappropriately seized the appellant’s video camera. Ms. Robison made a motion to affirm the Police Bureau’s finding of Exonerated. Ms. Silver seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.   

 

There followed public comment by Mr. Handelman and Ms. Hannon. Mr. Handelman questioned why IAD did not review the video on the appellant’s camera. Ms. Hannon stated that the appellants should have an advocate to represent them since the police officers have the police union to advocate for them. 

 

At the close of the first hearing, the appellant stated that she wished to withdraw her second appeal and left the meeting. 

 

V.    Following a short break, CRC decided to proceed with the second hearing on CRC Appeal No. 2009-C-0003 (IPR/IAD No. 2008-C-0100).

 

Ms. Silver presented a synopsis of the case: On 3/2/08 Portland Police Bureau Officers A and B, while on duty and driving in the vicinity of SE 26th and Belmont, saw the appellant walking down the street. The officers followed for a while, pulled over and allegedly asked appellant about a legal matter pursuant to the appellant’s previous arrest. The appellant alleged that the officers harassed him/her, and that one of the officers called the appellant a “faggot” and took the appellant’s picture with his cell phone camera. After an IPR/IAD investigation of the allegations, it was determined that none of the allegations could be proven and each received a final determination of “unproven.”  In his review, Assistant Chief Martinek agreed with the “unproven” findings but added “debriefing” to Allegation #1 (harassment) related to the officers’ judgment in handling of this matter. Commander Morse debriefed the officers. 

 

Mr. Miggins said that he would prefer not to have any voting on the findings in this case since the appeal was withdrawn by the appellant and the appellant was not present.  He recommended discussion of the case only for the purpose of identifying any possible training or policy issues, with no voting on the Police Bureau’s findings.

 

Ms. Silver said that if she were to vote on this, which she was not, she would challenge the Police Bureau’s findings. She said that she thinks that any reasonable person would have to consider what Officer A and B did in this situation as harassment.

 

Ms. Silver made the following statement:

 

“This appellant was walking down the street. She was minding her own business, walking her dog, and because these police officers had some prior experience with her that involves some legal matter that had to do with them, they followed her for a couple blocks and then started talking to her. I’m just picturing it in my head, about how I would feel if a police car was following me for a couple of blocks, especially if I didn’t like police  people, which I don’t think the appellant does. So, I do think that what they did was harassment. I was appalled, and I think, in the handwriting of the Assistant Chief, I think the Assistant Chief was appalled too, but he just wrote down that he questions the judgment of these police officers, and if this was their judgment, maybe they shouldn’t be riding together.  And I know that we don’t have any power to change discipline or that kind of thing, but I just wanted to publicly say that I was upset.”

 

Ms. Robison said that she agreed with what Ms. Silver said.  She said: “There is some sort of “gut level response in people, even those who consider themselves law-abiding, about the men in uniform, and following them down the street.  It’s tricky to call, because I think, in many of the officers’ minds, it’s ‘meet and greet,’ but for a lot of people who are being met and greeted, it’s a certain level of harassing.”

 

Mr. Eriksson said: “As far as the two previous comments, I totally agree.  I was really torn on this one myself, especially as was pointed out that the commander or higher made that statement. He was pretty upset with it too.  I don’t know if I would have changed the vote unless I could have had more information.”

 

Ms. Jackson said: “All I can say is all three are clearly unproven to me, and I think that’s the right finding, but I do think number two also deserves a debriefing. 

 

Ms. Robison added: “These officers surely should have realized that there was a degree of antagonism and certainly [garbled] in speaking to the appellant.They probably should have written a report….  It just strikes me that this one seems obvious that it needed an incident report.”

 

Mr. Miggins said: “I think item one and item two most definitely in my opinion go beyond harassment. They’re intimidating. I personally look at number one and number three as an intentional intimidating [garbled]. That’s my view…. The officers could be within policy and procedures, going down the street following [the appellant], but because of previous encounters, have made it intimidating as hell. There’s no other way to say that. I don’t know what you do about that, but I do know I can say to the Bureau that I think that’s intimidation. I think that person was intimidated  by what happened. Maybe not so much as I would have had it been me,  because of the previous history with those officers and that citizen. 

 

Mr. Miggins asked Ms. Robison to capture for the Tracking List any policy issues that have come out of the discussion of the appeals.

 

Ms. Jackson expressed concern that the appellant, when asked to address the specific allegations, did not seem to know what they were. Ms. Jackson asked what the process is for getting the appellant ready for the hearing. Mr. Miggins said that he would like to invite the Appeal Process Advisors (APAs) to come to a meeting to talk to CRC about this. Ms. Robison referred CRC members to the APA protocol and the guidelines that were written for APAs. Ms. Jackson said that tonight’s appellant was clearly disappointed with the process and her disappointment was so huge because she failed to understand what CRC’s purpose. 

 

Ms. Baptista suggested that at the beginning of the hearing there could be a summary of the APA’s interaction with the appellant.  Ms. Robison said that she would feel uncomfortable with the APAs describing their discussions with the appellant. 

 

Mr. Eriksson noted that when IPR staff used to present the case summary at appeal hearings, they included the allegations, the findings, and the three possible decisions CRC could make regarding the findings. However, the CRC presenter at tonight’s hearings said that this procedure was not clear to her. Ms. Robison reminded the group that the new procedure is still in the testing phase, and any suggestions for improvement of the instructions for CRC presenters are welcome. 

 

Mr. Miggins suggested that for the next appeal hearing the presentation should include the allegations, the findings, the relevant definitions of findings, and the possible actions that CRC may take regarding the appeal. 

 

           VI.    Director’s Report (Director Baptista)

 

   Work Plan:

 

>  2009 CRC recruitment.  Selections have been made.  Nominees are Jeffrey Bissonnette, Loren Eriksson, Hank Miggins, Ayoob Ramjan, Jamie Troy II, and Myra Simon. Nominees must pass a background check that will likely take 4 weeks. City Council appointment is tentatively scheduled for October 7, 2009 at 9:30am. Jeff Bissonnette and Myra Simon will begin their service immediately following the appointment. The remaining nominees will begin their terms on January 1, 2010. Thank you to the Interview Panel - Debbie Aiona and Michael Bigham.

 

>  Support the CRC workgroups, including the “IPR Structure Review” workgroup to produce a final product by summer / early fall of 2009.

 

>  Begin phone calls to complainants regarding their decision not to appeal. 

 

IPR Accomplishments:  Thanks to the hard work of Irene Konev we had a strong and diverse pool of applicants for the CRC. Two finalists brought in for an interview (and one who was chosen as a nominee) applied as a direct result of her outreach efforts to community and faith-based organizations. Another nominee for the CRC resulted from her outreach efforts to the City             Commissioners and the Mayor. 

 

Appeals:  IPR has received a timely appeal request for IPR/IAD case number 2008-C-0150. The appellant has been offered mediation in lieu of an appeal and has decided to proceed with an appeal. At the September CRC meeting, thirty minutes will be set aside on the agenda for a case review discussion of this case. 

 

Community Outreach (Irene Konev): Outreach focus for July was the recruitment of volunteers to serve on the Citizen Review Committee. The recruitment had a successful outcome of receiving twenty applications. Outreach also focused on the IPR website to update and add a new section, IPR News. This new feature to our website gives Portlanders an opportunity on Portland Online to subscribe to email notifications of the all the latest events and notifications. An email address was also set up specifically for CRC. The two email addressed make it easier for community members to correspond directly to CRC members. All these additions and revisions have given us the highest number if visitors to our website for the whole year. A total of 7,605 visitors came to our website from the public and 1,745 visitors came to our website from those working for the City of Portland. Outreach events are posted the IPR website calendar and sent out to those signed up on IPR News.  In addition, Outreach went on a ride-along in Southeast Portland, attended a community festival, PDX Expo, put on staff trainings for Portland Women’s Crisis Line, Mentor Oregon Brokerage, and presented at an Office of Neighborhood Involvement community meeting. She attended Colored Pencils, a multicultural event. Several meetings took place for agency partnerships with the Office of Human Relations.

 

         VII.      Workgroup Updates

 

Case Handling Workgroup (Ms. Robison). Workgroup continues to be in hiatus due to lack of sufficient members. 

 

Bias-based Policing Workgroup (Mr. Miggins). A meeting scheduled for July 28 was cancelled. Another meeting date has not yet been determined.

 

IPR Structure Review Workgroup (Ms. Jackson). The last meeting was 8/11/09.  CRC members were invited to come and share their information or comments on the focus areas. Hank Miggins attended and Lewellyn Robison shared her comments via email.

 

Next meeting: 9/10/09, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., 1st Floor Auditor’s Conference Room: Agenda: Finish discussion of margin comments of the outline and begin to develop a concept design and time table for the draft report. 

 

Outreach Workgroup (Mr. Eriksson): Last meeting 8/6/09. Discussed a draft work plan and agreed to incorporate more of the consultant’s report into the work plan.  The work group discussed the role of CRC and IPR; ways to be more  “customer-friendly” at CRC meetings, such as having a CRC member serving as host to visitors and having community members come to the table to make their public comments; and filming the Portland Community Media Face to Face show. Mr. Miggins requested CRC’s approval to proceed with this project.   

 

Next meeting:  8/25/09 at 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Audit Services Library. Agenda: Discuss what the workgroup’s product will be complete work plan.

 

PARC Report Review Workgroup (Mr. Eriksson). Last two meetings: 7/22/09   and 8/5/09. The workgroup is reviewing its assessment of the Police Bureau’s response to PARC recommendations and determining whether or not they will make recommendations regarding each item. At the last meeting Commander Tellis of the Training Bureau attended and addressed the Police Bureau’s response to specific PARC recommendation regarding training. 

 

Next meeting: 8/26/09 at noon – 1:30 p.m. in the Audit Services Library. Agenda: Continue assessment and work with the IPR senior management analyst Derek Reinke, who is assisting in drafting the work group’s report.

 

Protocol Workgroup (Ms. Robison). Last meeting: 8/10/09. The workgroup finalized revisions to Protocol No. 5.18 (Policy Review). CRC members were asked to review the revised protocol and vote on whether or not to approve it at the next CRC meeting.    

 

Next meeting: 8/31/09 at 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in the Audit Services Library. Agenda: Discuss 5.05 and 5.07 and procedures for CRC members presenting cases at appeal hearings.   

 

Mr. Miggins announced that the Tracking List Workgroup will have its first           meeting on either 8/28/09 or 9/11/09.  He envisions that this workgroup will be    short-lived and will focus on the whole issue of tracking policy questions.   

 

       VIII.      Old Business:

 

Ms. Silver asked for an update on CRC business cards. Ms. Griffin-Valade has approved of the business cards, and Ms. Baptista said that she will get this done. There followed some discussion about the possibility of having a dedicated CRC voicemail number.

 

Ms. Konev asked Mr. Miggins regarding the Portland Community Media Face to Face program if a decision had been made to film the show on an October date rather than the September 1 date. Mr. Miggins said that he suggested the October date so that the Outreach Workgroup would have more time to work on it. He also thought that approval of the full CRC was needed to go ahead with this.  Ms. Konev expressed concern that there may not be another chance to film the show until after January.  

 

Ms. Robison made a motion to film the Face to Face show on September 1. Mr. Eriksson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.   

 

           IX.      New Business: None

 

            X.      Public Comment Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch):  Mr. Handelman said that he thought the appeal hearing went smoother than past hearings.  He suggested that it would be better if a short, one-sentence summary of the case is given before the case is presented.  Mr. Handelman suggested that CRC write a letter to the Assistant Chief expressing how they felt about the second appeal case.  Mr. Handelman also said that there needs to be someone to provide support to the appellants or remind them or to remind them to say something they need to say and keep them on track.  He noted that police officers have the Police Union to represent them, while the citizens are on their own.  Mr. Handelman also announced that the next issue of the People’s Police Report will be available next month.

 

          XI.      Wrap-up Comments:

 

Ms. Silver said that she thought Mr. Handelman’s suggestion about writing a letter to the Chief or Assistant Chief about the CRC’s comments about the second case was a good idea, “otherwise our discussion will just sort of go up in the air.” Ms. Baptista stated that Assistant Chief Martinek is going to be at the next meeting to talk about precinct restructuring, so they could possibly personally talk to him about their discussion instead of writing a letter.  Mr. Miggins said that he supported the recommendation to write a letter.  It was decided that Mr. Miggins and Ms. Silver would get together to write the letter, which they will then give to Chair Bigham so that he can put it on the agenda for approval at the next meeting.       

 

         XII.      Vice-chair Miggins adjourned the meeting at 8:18 p.m.