Citizen Review Committee
May 12, 2010
Date Approved: July 14, 2010
Meeting Location: Lovejoy Room, Portland City Hall
Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm.
Introductions and Welcome
CRC Members Present: Michael Bigham (Chair), Hank Miggins (Vice-Chair), Loren Eriksson (Recorder), Jeff Bissonnette, Lindsey Detweiler, Ayoob Ramjan, Lewellyn Robison, Rochelle Silver, Jamie Troy
City staff: LaVonne Griffin-Valade (City Auditor), Mary-Beth Baptista (IPR Director), Constantin Severe (IPR Assistant Director); Derek Reinke (IPR Senior Management Analyst), Linly Rees (Deputy City Attorney)
Police Bureau: Captain Ed Brumfield (IAD), Lieutenant Erik Schober (IAD), Investigator Bill Accornero (IAD)
Community/Media: Dan Handelman (Portland CopWatch and Flying Focus Video), Regina Hannon (Portland CopWatch), Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters)
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Eriksson made a motion to approve the minutes of the 4/14/10 CRC meeting. Mr. Miggins seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Silver made a motion to approve the minutes of the 4/27/10 CRC meeting. Mr. Eriksson seconded. The motion passed 8-0 with an abstention by Ms. Robison, who was not present at the meeting.
Investigative Case Review of #2009-X-0008 (IPR #2009-C-0033)
IAD Investigator Accornero presented a summary of the IAD investigation. He said that BOEC was not able to find a record of a 911 call made by the complainant on the date and time of the incident. Mr. Accornero has contacted the complainant to request a record of his cell phone calls, and the complainant has agreed to obtain the phone records from his cell phone company. Mr. Accornero will make these records available to CRC members prior to the hearing if he receives them from the complainant.
Assistant Director Severe presented an overview of the IPR intake investigation and the investigation timelines.
Ms. Detweiler asked about the DMV crash reports and information from the officer’s and the complainant’s insurance companies. Mr. Accornero said the complainant’s insurer found the officer at fault, and the officer’s insurer found the complainant at fault.
Mr. Bissonnette made a motion to schedule this case for an appeal hearing. Mr. Miggins seconded. After public comment by Mr. Handelman, the motion passed unanimously. Ms. Robison and Mr. Bissonnette were appointed to present the appeal. [The case was later scheduled for the June 9 CRC meeting.]
Follow-up on Appeal #2009-X-0007 (IPR #2009-C-0125)
At the 4/14/10 meeting, CRC voted to return this case to IAD for further investigation. Captain Brumfield addressed each of CRC’s specific requests for further investigation.
To re-interview the complainant in an attempt to identify the supervisor whom the complainant spoke with and interview the supervisor if identified; if the supervisor cannot be identified, document all efforts made to try to identify the supervisor: Captain Brumfield said that the complainant was asked if she knew who the supervisor was, and she did not. Captain Brumfield acknowledged that confirming this telephone call would help in determining the complainant’s credibility. He said he is willing to accept that she made this phone call, but it would not help in determining the facts of the allegations, because the sergeant was not present during the incident.
To provide a photograph of the scene: This has been done. The photograph is available in the IAD casefile as well as a Google Maps photograph.
To re-interview officers and civilian witnesses, asking them to identify the location and orientation of the police car on a scene diagram or photograph: The photographs will help to clarify this. IAD is not willing to re-interview the officers.
To obtain the stop log of the officers and traffic records of the complainant and her boyfriend: There is no accurate record of how many times an officer makes a stop. However, IAD did obtain the DMV traffic records of the complainant and the witness. When asked how many times she and her boyfriend were contacted by these officers, the complainant said there was only one other time that her boyfriend was pulled over by Officer A, at which time he was given a warning. There was only one additional contact that Officer B had with the complainant’s boyfriend, and that was regarding an animal control problem.
To attempt to identify and interview the person with whom the complainant was speaking on the public phone during this incident: Captain Brumfield did not believe this would be useful to the investigation, as this person was not present.
Ms. Silver asked how CRC is to proceed when they believe additional information is required, but IAD does not agree to do the additional work. Chair Bigham asked Deputy City Attorney Rees to define CRC’s authority. Ms. Rees pointed out that the ordinance gives CRC the authority to decide whether or not a finding is supported by the evidence, but does not grant CRC the power to compel IAD to do additional investigation.
Director Baptista offered for IPR to ask the complainant and the witness to come in and mark on the picture the position and orientation of the police car and to ask the complainant to identify whom she was talking to on the pay phone and try to contact that person.
Mr. Troy said that he would be willing to postpone the appeal hearing until the officers can be re-interviewed about the position and orientation of the police car. Mr. Ramjan pointed out that there is a barrier around the phone booth, so even if the police car were no more than six inches from the barrier, it would not obstruct the phone booth door from opening.
Mr. Bissonnette made a motion to acknowledge the photograph in the IAD file; to accept the IPR Director’s offer to re-interview the complainant and her boyfriend about the location and orientation of the police car; to attempt to identify and contact the person the complainant was talking with on the phone; and to schedule a hearing when the additional work has been completed. Mr. Eriksson seconded. The motion passed, 7-2.
Yes: Bigham, Bissonnette, Detweiler, Eriksson, Ramjan, Robison, Troy
No: Miggins, Silver
Captain Brumfield offered to meet with any CRC members who would like to discuss the officers’ testimony.
Election of CRC Officers
Ms. Silver nominated Mr. Bigham to continue as CRC Chair. Mr. Troy seconded. Mr. Miggins moved that nominations be closed. The motion to close the nominations passed unanimously. Mr. Bigham was unanimously elected as Chair.
Ms. Silver nominated Mr. Troy for Vice-Chair. Mr. Bissonnette seconded. Mr. Miggins moved that nominations be closed. The motion to close the nominations passed unanimously. Mr. Troy was unanimously elected as Vice-Chair.
Ms. Silver nominated Mr. Bissonnette for Recorder of CRC. Mr. Eriksson seconded. Mr. Miggins moved that nominations be closed. The motion to close the nominations passed unanimously. Mr. Bissonnette was unanimously elected as Recorder.
IPR Ordinance Revision: Portland City Council voted unanimously on March 31 to adopt the proposed changes in the ordinance.
IPR Annual Report: The goal is to release the report by May 2010.
IPR Community Outreach: See IPR Director’s Report
IPR and IAD Caseloads: See caseload tables in IPR Director’s Report.
Appeals: IPR #2009-C-0085 / Appeal #2010-X-0001: A timely appeal has been filed by the officer in this case. The date of this appeal has yet to be determined.
CRC Chair’s Report
The first meeting of the Stakeholder Workgroup will be on May 27 at 10:00 a.m. in the Rose Room. The meeting is open to the public.
Appeals Workgroup (Mr. Troy): Last meeting was April 26. The workgroup is attempting to codify in a protocol all the appeal-related protocols and the case file review process. The next meeting will be on May 26 from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. in Mr. Troy’s office.
Outreach Workgroup (Mr. Miggins): Last meeting was 4/13/10. The notes from the community forum are being prepared for posting on the IPR/CRC website. Comments should be submitted by the date of the next CRC meeting.
Mr. Miggins made a motion that the Outreach Workgroup be established as a standing workgroup with rotating membership, to be appointed by the Chair or volunteers. Ms. Silver seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Silver announced that Mr. Miggins has secured a location for the 10/26/10 public forum at the Interstate Kaiser Permanente.
Mr. Miggins said that the Outreach Workgroup believes that the Tracking List is a valuable instrument that is not being properly utilized by CRC. The Outreach Workgroup proposes that the Tracking List be included on the agenda of each regular CRC meeting.
Ms. Silver asked if CRC could be provided a budget so that they can provide refreshments at the public forums. Auditor Griffin-Valade said that she will look into that, but at this time the Auditor’s Office budget is still uncertain.
The next meeting of the Outreach Workgroup will be on June 8 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Auditor’s 1st Floor Conference Room. The agenda will include reviewing the outreach work plan.
Protocol Workgroup (Mr. Miggins): Last meeting was April 28. The workgroup brought itself up to date on where they are with their work. There are still some issues to be dealt with on the Policy Review Protocol. The workgroup plans to move forward on Communications Guidelines Protocol, the Public Comments Protocol, the Protocol for Requests for Reconsideration of CRC Decisions, and any protocols that are affected by the IPR Structure Workgroup Report. The next meeting will be on May 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Mr. Troy’s office. The agenda will be to work on the previously mentioned items. Assistant Director Severe offered to attend the next meeting of this workgroup.
Recurring Audit Workgroup (Mr. Ramjan) The last meeting was May 4. The workgroup reviewed its work plan and discussed the data that will be needed and the evaluation criteria that will be used. The group plans to review cases that were handled as Service Improvement Opportunities over the last six months. The next meeting will be on July 13.
Taser/Less Lethal Force Workgroup (Mr. Bigham): Last meeting was May 4. The workgroup is attempting to obtain a draft of the Police Bureau’s new policy on Tasers. The workgroup plans to review complaints involving the use of Tasers. Next meeting will be on May 25 at 4:00 p.m.
Letter to Police Bureau regarding policy discussion on IPR Case #2007-C-0335 (Appeal Case #2009-X-0006): Director Baptista referred to an email that she received from Mr. Handelman and Ms. Aiona about policy recommendations. Ms. Aiona explained that policy issues that are brought to light during appeal hearings are generally put on CRC’s Tracking List, and if further research is done, they may result in a policy recommendation to the Police Bureau. However, in some cases there are issues that are very immediate and do not require a study. Ms. Aiona suggested that policy recommendations that do not require further research should be forwarded to the Police Bureau immediately after the appeal is heard.
Director Baptista reviewed the elements of the letter to the Police Bureau regarding the above-mentioned case. She advised that letters to the Police Bureau following appeals should be clear on which items are policy recommendations and which are merely matters of concern to CRC. Ms. Silver agreed that there are issues of concern that should not require a great deal of research, and these need to be forwarded to the Police Bureau in a timely manner. Director Baptista advised that issues of concern that are not truly policy recommendations should come directly from CRC. Chair Bigham agreed to write the letter to the Police Bureau addressing CRC’s concerns regarding the above case. CRC agreed to place the issue of drug testing and fitness testing for officers on the Tracking List.
Ms. Silver inquired about CRC training by the Police Bureau. Director Baptista said this is being worked on. She said that the Police Bureau is also looking into the possibility of allowing limited numbers of CRC members to attend actual Police Bureau training sessions with officers.
Chair Bigham noted that this year’s NACOLE Conference will be held in Seattle in September of this year, and he highly recommended this conference for CRC members. It is not known at this time if funding will be available in the Auditor’s budget to support CRC members’ attendance at the conference.
Approval of PARC Review Workgroup Report
Following discussion of IPR’s possible involvement in investigations of officer-involved shootings and deaths in custody, Ms. Silver made a motion that the City Council should expand the authority of IPR to include oversight of officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths and that IPR should have an active role in monitoring the scenes of these incidents. Mr. Miggins seconded. Following public comment by Ms. Aiona and Mr. Handelman in support of the motion and further discussion by CRC members, the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Reinke said that there may need to be some additional wordsmithing of the workgroup recommendation regarding the Employee Information System. Mr. Bissonnette made a motion that the PARC Review Workgroup have the authority to change the wording on this recommendation to align it with the recommendations of the IPR Structure Review Workgroup. Ms. Silver seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Silver made a motion to approve the PARC Review Workgroup Report with the above amendments. Mr. Bissonnette seconded. Mr. Handelman said that he had hoped that the PARC Review Workgroup Report would include a recommendation to limit officers’ use of Tasers in mental health facilities. Ms. Aiona commended the workgroup for its report. The motion passed unanimously. Chair Bigham thanked Mr. Reinke for his excellent work on this report.
Ms. Aiona encouraged IPR to be more involved in drafting Police Bureau policies, as suggested by the new police chief. She appreciated the support of IPR staff for the next CRC public forum.
Mr. Handelman suggested that it may be unwise to mention the names of community members in the community forum report. He also suggested that the discussion and approval of workgroup reports be scheduled earlier in future meetings.
Director Baptista, commenting on changes in the Police Bureau that were announced earlier in the day, said that she has good rapport with Chief Reese, and she believes the transition will be smooth for IPR. She noted that while serving as commander of East Precinct Chief Reese has been very supportive of IPR outreach activities.
Auditor Griffin-Valade reminded the group that the work of accountability can be slow and frustrating at times and requires diligence, hard work, and patience, but “we are getting there.” She thanked all for their service.
Ms. Silver agreed with Mr. Handelman that CRC needs to be sensitive to people’s feelings about using their names in the community forum report. She noted that the Outreach Workgroup had suggested using only first names in the report.
Mr. Miggins said that CRC should revisit how it sends information back to IAD.
Mr. Eriksson suggested that there be a timeline on getting the reports of the IPR Structure Review Workgroup, the PARC Review Report, and the Bias-based Policing Workgroup ready for presentation to City Council. Director Baptista will check on the next available times and will give CRC some options.
Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 8:55 p.m.