Citizen Review Committee
June 9, 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), Jamie Troy (Vice-Chair), Jeff Bissonnette (Recorder), Lindsey Detweiler, Ayoob Ramjan, Lewellyn Robison, Rochelle Silver
CRC Members Absent: Loren Eriksson (excused), Hank Miggins (excused)
City staff: LaVonne Griffin-Valade (City Auditor), Mary-Beth Baptista (IPR Director), Constantin Severe (IPR Assistant Director), Michael Hess (IPR Deputy Director), Linly Rees (Deputy City Attorney)
Police Bureau: Captain Ed Brumfield (IAD), Lieutenant Erik Schober (IAD), Investigator Lieutenant Ron Alexander (TOD), Bill Accornero (IAD)
Community/Media: Dan Handelman (Portland CopWatch and Flying Focus Video), Regina Hannon (Portland CopWatch)
Additional Hearing Participants: Liberty Straney (National Lawyers Guild), Troy Pickard (National Lawyers Guild), TJ Browning (Appeal Process Advisor)
Approval of Minutes
Ms. Silver made a motion to approve the minutes of the 5/12 CRC meeting. Mr. Bissonnette seconded. Ms. Robison objected that the minutes were incomplete. Mr. Bigham decided to postpone approval of the minutes until they are re-examined.
Appeal of Case #2009-X-0008 (IPR #2009-C-0033)
Chair Bigham read the appeal procedures and ground rules.
Ms. Rees defined the standard of proof for CRC appeal hearings.
Ms. Robison presented the case summary, including allegations and findings.
The appellant spoke on his own behalf.
Ms. Straney spoke in support of the appellant. She objected to the “accusatory tone” of the IAD letter of disposition. She said they would like to have more investigation of allegations 1, 2, and 3. She asked that the findings on Allegations 3 and 4 be changed to Unproven.
Officer A spoke on his own behalf.
Lieutenant Alexander presented the rationale for the Police Bureau’s findings.
CRC members asked questions of the appellant and Police Bureau members.
Public comment: Dan Handelman
The appellant and the officer made final statements.
Each allegation was voted on separately.
Allegation 1. Officer A failed to observe traffic laws. Category: Conduct. Finding: Unproven.
Ms. Silver made a motion to affirm the finding on Allegation 1. Ms. Robison seconded the motion.
The motion passed unanimously.
Allegation 2. Officer A exhibited road rage. Category: Conduct. Finding: Unproven
Ms. Robison made a motion to affirm the finding on Allegation 2. Mr. Bissonnette seconded the motion.
The motion passed unanimously.
Allegation 3. Officer A repeatedly pounded with a key on the appellant’s car window. Category: Conduct. Finding: Exonerated.
Mr. Bissonnette made a motion to challenge the finding of Exonerated and to recommend changing the finding to Unproven. Ms. Detweiler seconded the motion.
The motion passed by a vote of 5-2.
Yes: Bigham, Bissonnette, Detweiler, Silver, Troy
No: Ramjan, Robison
Rationale given for votes:
Mr. Bissonnette: Made the motion because the appellant, Officer A, and the witness had conflicting recollections of what happened. It cannot be determined if the action happened and was within policy, so a better finding is Unproven.
Mr. Troy: Voted in favor of the change because Exonerated would mean that the officer did repeatedly pound with the key on the car window and that this would fall within Bureau policy.
Ms. Detweiler: Voted in favor of the change: Unproven means that the reviewing officer is not making a factual finding, not deciding either way, because there is not enough evidence to decide what happened versus Exonerated, where a decision is made about what actually happened, but it was within policy.
Ms. Silver: Voted in favor of changing the finding since there is no agreement on what happened.
Mr. Bigham: Voted in favor of changing the finding because there were different versions of what happened, so it should be Unproven.
Mr. Ramjan: Voted against changing the finding because the alleged action would be within policy.
Ms. Robison: Voted against changing the finding to Unproven because she thought that that Exonerated was the correct finding.
Allegation 4. Officer A misused his authority as a police officer. Category: Conduct. Finding: Exonerated with a Debriefing.
Mr. Bissonnette made a motion to challenge the finding of Exonerated with a Debriefing and to recommend changing the finding to Unproven with a Debriefing. Ms. Silver seconded the motion.
The motion passed by a vote of 4-3.
Yes: Bissonnette, Ramjan, Silver, Troy
No: Bigham, Detweiler, Robison
Rationale given for votes:
Mr. Bissonnette made the motion to change the finding to Unproven with a Debriefing as opposed to Exonerated with a Debriefing because that would imply that it is within policy for an officer to use his position to try to gain an advantage that would not be available to an ordinary citizen.
Mr. Troy did not view the officer’s showing of his badge as improper or as an attempt to gain a personal advantage. However, he supported changing the finding to Unproven because there was a dispute between the officer’s and the appellant’s interpretation of the intent of the action.
Ms. Detweiler voted against the motion because she supported a finding of Sustained.
Mr. Bigham and Ms. Robison clarified that the reason they voted against the motion was because they believed the original finding of Exonerated with a Debriefing was reasonable, not because they wanted it changed to Sustained.
Policy Discussion Relating to the Appeal
CRC members discussed the issue of police officers showing their badge, identifying themselves as police officers, or using their authority as a police officer in off-duty situations or on personal business. Ms. Detweiler volunteered to further research the policies relating to these matters. CRC also discussed the dilemma of BOEC’s inability to find a record of the appellant’s 911 call. Captain Brumfield said that he intends to meet with Patrick Jones of BOEC to try to find out the cause for this.
Follow-up Discussion on Appeal #2009-X-0007 (IPR #2009-C-0125)
Director Baptista summarized the additional investigation conducted by IPR Investigator Hess on this case. It was unanimously decided to schedule the appeal hearing on July 14. Mr. Troy and Mr. Bigham volunteered to present the case summary.
Independent Police Review Division (IPR) Work Plan and Accomplishments: The 2009 IPR Annual Report was released on 5/27. The IPR Director gave a presentation on civilian oversight at the Association of Local Government Auditors Conference. IPR, the City Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Human Resources, and the Police Bureau’s Office of Professional Standards have been working together to draft new Police Bureau directives and IPR protocols that address the changes in the IPR Ordinance.
IPR Community Outreach: Assistant Director Constantin Severe attended the monthly Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) advisory committee meeting as well as the Developmentally Disabled Advisory Committee (DDAC) meeting. Community Outreach Coordinator Irene Konev networked and planned two June community miniforums with the Urban League and NAACP. She made connections with the Avel Gordly Healing Center, Central City Concern, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and St. Andrew Law Clinic. She made presentations about the commendation and complaint process to various community groups, including Slavic and Hispanic communities.
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 the appeal hearing has yet to be determined.
Recent Changes in the Police Bureau
Captain Brumfield outlined recent changes in the Police Bureau affecting the Office of Professional Standards and IAD.
CRC Chair’s Report
Chair Bigham, Mr. Miggins, and (former CRC member) Mr. Mark Johnson presented the Bias-based Policing Report to City Council. Chair Bigham has been attending the meetings of the Stakeholder Committee. He brought up to the committee the problem of CRC recommending additional investigation and IAD declining to do so.
Appeal Workgroup (Mr. Troy): Last meeting was 5/26. The workgroup has identified several elements in the protocols that should be addressed at the ordinance level. Ms. Silver suggested that it would be beneficial if the Appeal Process Advisors (APAs) and the National Lawyers Guild representatives attend some of the Appeal Workgroup meetings. Director Baptista agreed to notify the APAs about this workgroup. The next meeting will be on 6/21 from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. in Mr. Troy’s office.
Outreach Workgroup (Ms. Robison for Mr. Miggins): Last meeting was 6/8. The work plan and action items were reviewed. The workgroup also discussed public comments at the community forum. Based on CRC comments at the last CRC meeting. Mr. Bissonnette removed the names of community members who made public comments. The date of the next community forum was changed from Tuesday 10/26 to Thursday 10/28. The next workgroup meeting will be on 7/13 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the 1st Floor Auditor’s Conference Room.
PARC Report Workgroup: The final workgroup report is now available and will be presented to City Council on 7/15. Chair Bigham thanked Derek Reinke for his excellent work on this report.
Protocol Workgroup (Mr. Troy for Mr. Miggins): Last meeting was 5/20. The next meeting will be held at Mr. Troy’s office.
Recurring Audit Workgroup (Mr. Ramjan): The workgroup did not meet this month. Workgroup members are reviewing files. The next meeting will be on July 13 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Taser/Less Lethal Force Workgroup (Mr. Bigham): Last meeting was May 25. The workgroup did a preliminary draft of its work plan, including plans to review 16-18 complaints. Next meeting will be on 6/22 at 4:00 p.m. It is anticipated that someone from the Police Bureau’s Training Division will attend the next meeting.
Ms. Robison has produced a current version of the Tracking List. CRC members discussed ideas on managing the Tracking List.
Ms. Silver asked that the 9/8 CRC meeting be rescheduled to 9/7 or 9/14. Chair Bigham said that availability of a meeting room will be looked into.
Ms. Silver reminded the group that the Community-Police Relations Committee of the Human Rights Commission has invited CRC to send a CRC member to its regular monthly meetings. It was decided to begin officially scheduling a CRC member to attend these meetings on a rotating basis. Mr. Bissonnette and Ms. Silver plan to attend the June and July meetings, respectively.
CRC members agreed that it is important to continue coordinating with Ms. Konev on outreach activities in the community.
Ms. Hannon was pleased that members of the National Lawyers Guild are now serving as advocates for the appellants. She suggested that the APAs should be allowed to make comments.
Mr. Handelman said that the appeal hearing went well, but he would like the appeal summary to begin with a description of the incident that the case is about. He suggested using the summary format that was developed by IPR. Mr. Handelman noted that the prevailing directive in the case that was heard tonight and in other recent appeals was policy 311.30 Off-duty Conduct, but this directive apparently did not enter into the investigation or the review by the commander. Mr. Handelman reminded CRC members that they should explain their votes at the time that they vote. He also suggested including a short summary of the appeal in the meeting agenda.
Director Baptista commended Mr. Bigham and Mr. Miggins for their excellent presentation of the Bias-based Policing Report at a City Council hearing and affirmed that presentations of CRC and IPR reports will continue to be provided to Council.
Auditor Griffin-Valade thanked all for their service.
Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.