Citizen Review Committee
August 10, 2011
Date Approved: September 14, 2011
Meeting Location: Lovejoy Room, 2nd Floor, Portland City Hall
Chair Troy called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm.
Introductions and Welcome
Citizen Review Committee (CRC) Members Present: Jamie Troy (Chair); Jeff Bissonnette (Recorder), Loren Eriksson, Hank Miggins, Ayoob Ramjan, Rochelle Silver,
CRC Member Absent: Michael Bigham (excused); Andre Pruitt (excused); Steve Yarosh (excused)
City staff: Mary-Beth Baptista, Director, Independent Police Review (IPR); Derek Reinke, IPR Senior Management Analyst; Irene Konev, IPR Community Outreach Coordinator
Portland Police Bureau: Captain Dave Famous, Internal Affairs (IA); Lieutenant Chris Davis, IA
Community/Media: Dan Handelman, Portland Copwatch and Flying Focus Video; Regina Hannon, Portland Copwatch; Debbie Aiona, League of Women Voters (LOWV); Carol Cushman, LOWV; Aaron Stark, United States Attorney’s Office
Approval of Minutes of the 6/8/11 CRC Meeting
Dr. Silver made a motion to approve the minutes of the 7/13/11 CRC meeting. Mr. Eriksson seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Presentation: Barriers with Police Oversight and Building Awareness of the Native American Culture
Presenters, Bill Jenson and Kelli Cunningham of the Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA), were introduced by Ms. Konev.
One of the biggest issues is trust.
About 250-300 of the 585+ U.S. tribes are represented in the Portland area.
The majority of Native American people now reside in an urban setting.
There are many barriers to Native Americans in “navigating the system.”
Many small tribes were “terminated” by the U.S. government policies in the 1950s and 1960s. Since the 1970s many tribes have struggled for reunification and restoration.
Following the presentation, Director Baptista invited the presenters to speak to the IPR investigators about reducing barriers and building trust in the Native American community, and they agreed to do so.
Director’s Report (Director Baptista)
Independent Police Review (IPR) Division Work Plan / Accomplishments:
IPR role in US Justice Department civil rights review of the Portland Police Bureau: IPR Director Mary-Beth Baptista and Assistant Directors Constantin Severe and Pete Sandrock were interviewed by several Department of Justice officials and consultants on 8/2/11. IPR staff members will be complying with an additional discovery demand in the coming weeks. It is undetermined when the federal investigation will be complete.
Conversations with Editorial Boards: Director Baptista, Assistant Director Constantin Severe, Ms. Konev, and Intern Lawashia Smith met with the editorial boards of the Portland Observer and the Skanner to engage in a dialogue on the powers and duties of IPR and CRC and the impact of the 2010 Ordinance changes.
Summer Youth Connect Program: Intern Lawashia Smith made mock-ups of a new IPR brochure and made changes and improvements to the mediation brochure. She has been instrumental in connecting IPR to the community and has expanded the brochure distribution list by the connections she has established.
IPR Community Outreach
Ms. Konev met with Outreach Coordinator Bill Jenson of Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA), had a tour of the organization, and met program directors. Bill Jenson and Kelli Cunningham graciously agreed to present to CRC today on Native American culture.
Mr. Severe and Ms. Konev attended the Gang Task Force meeting.
CRC member Loren Eriksson and Ms. Konev met with the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to explain the powers and duties of IPR and CRC and to expand recruitment of new members.
Ms. Konev and Ms. Smith attended two dialogues on racism, social justice, and reconciliation at Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs and at Kennedy School engaged in networking with community leaders and strengthening relationships.
Ms. Konev met with several women to explain the powers and duties of the CRC to expand the pool of applicants to the upcoming CRC recruitment; she held meetings with Cyreena Boston of the Governor’s Office and with the Russian Speaking Network; and she attended the Community and Police Relations Committee meeting and the Human Rights Committee meeting.
IPR and IAD Caseloads: See Director’s Report.
CRC Chair’s Report (Chair Troy)
On 7/20/11, Chair Troy attended the Community and Police Relations Committee meeting;
On 8/3/11, Chair Troy attended a meeting on CRC priorities in anticipation of providing these to City Council. A follow-up meeting will be scheduled.
Chair Troy has had discussions with multiple parties regarding the Appeal Process Advisor.
Mr. Bissonnette announced that the CRC Tracking List is now posted on the CRC section of the IPR website.
Discussion and Vote on Two Versions of draft protocol PSF-5.21 - Appeal Process Advisor
Chair Troy presented the two draft versions that have been developed by the Appeals Workgroup for further discussion and adoption.
Chair Troy explained that the two versions mirror each other in many ways, but one is called “Appeal Process Advisor (APA)” and the other is called Appeal Process Advisor/Advocate.” The first version will hereafter be referred to as “Enhanced APA proposal,” and the second will be referred to as the “APA Advocate proposal.”
Public comments have been received from Ms. Aiona on behalf of the LOWV, from Ashley Albee on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild, and from various other community members.
Chair Troy clarified that under the Enhanced APA proposal, only former CRC members may serve as APAs. Under the APA Advocate proposal, former CRC members or other community members may serve in this capacity.
Mr. Bissonnette said that he was struck by how close the two proposals are to each other. He appreciated the effort on the part of the workgroup to avoid limiting language and state things rather broadly. However, in his experience, if a group means to grant authority, such as, in this case, what the APA is allowed to do at appeal hearings, it is best to state this.
Chair Troy said that he believes that if CRC adopts the APA Advocate proposal, the end result would be maintaining the status quo, because the Police Bureau has made it clear that APAs who are not former CRC members would not be granted access to IA files.
Mr. Eriksson pointed out that much of what APAs are authorized to do will be spelled out in the APA guidelines. Chair Troy said that he does not believe that anything in the Enhanced APA protocol would prevent the APA from making the opening statement on behalf of the appellant or from addressing CRC, witnesses, or others during the hearing.
Mr. Handelman urged CRC to adopt the specific language in the APA Advocate proposal regarding the APA’s role at appeal hearings.
Ms. Hannon stated that she is fully in favor of the APA Advocate model.
Ms. Aiona said that if CRC is not willing to move the specific language in the APA Advocate proposal to the Enhanced APA proposal, the vote on this protocol should be postponed until revisions to the APA guidelines have been completed.
Mr. Bissonnette made a motion to amend section “h” of the Enhanced APA proposal to read, “The APA may address CRC, witnesses, or other participants at the case file review/appeal hearing when recognized by the Chair. This includes, at the Participant’s discretion, that the APA may make the presentation of the opening statement and may respond to CRC questions directed to the APA on behalf of the Participant, at the Participant’s request, and through the Chair, ask questions to CRC or others involved in the case review or the appeal hearing. In addition the APA may discuss policy issues related to the appeal.” Mr. Ramjan seconded the motion.
Chair Troy asked Captain Famous to respond to this proposed change to the Enhanced APA version.
Captain Famous responded that he considers the language in section “f” of the Enhanced APA proposal to be fairly broad and not precluding the specific things mentioned in section “h” of the APA Advocate version.
Director Baptista also pointed out the broad language in section “h” of the Enhanced APA version. She cautioned that narrow language may result in severe limitations.
Mr. Bissonnette said that he would be happy to amend his motion to include the phrase, “this includes but is not limited to…”
Director Baptista made the following statement: “Everyone knows that my and Constantin’s position from the beginning has been that it’s wrong to not let the APA speak in this room… And we saw in the Iacuzzi case a perfect example of absolutely why this needed to be changed, and all of us across the board thought it was horrible. And so we are all about wanting to make sure that APA may make the presentation and help with the opening statement and to discuss policy issues, but I think the language needs to be broad to make sure we’re not pigeonholed later on in a future meeting to limit what they can do.”
Mr. Bissonnette asked Captain Famous what he would think about amending the motion to say, “This includes but is not limited to….”
Captain Famous replied that he came to the meeting tonight with two options. He said that he might not disagree with what Mr. Bissonnette was proposing, but he sees section “h” as being pretty broad, and if it is to be amended to present a new version, he would defer on whether or not he approves or agrees with that.
Mr. Ramjan asked Captain Famous if he believes that the draft protocol, as written, without Mr. Bissonnette’s proposed amendment, allows the APA to represent the appellant and speak on their behalf and make opening statements and so on.
Captain Famous replied in the affirmative.
Mr. Ramjan then withdrew his second.
Captain Famous made the following statement: “I’d just like to get it on the record again what I first addressed the workgroup regarding the appeal process. I was sitting here in this very seat next to a complainant and an APA who couldn’t talk through the whole thing, and like I said before, it hurt so bad, it made my body ache. My heart went out to this person who could not address allegations. My whole incentive here is to try to push through some progress as to the ability of the APA, a former CRC member, to assist this person as best as possible. And that’s where my heart’s at, and that’s where the language is at. So if the appellant comes here and doesn’t have the ability to speak in public, or whatever, he says, ‘Could you please present this?’ That’s the intention. I don’t see any limitating here under ‘h’ under the advisory model that says that they can’t do that.”
There was no further second to Mr. Bissonnette’s motion, so the motion was defeated.
Mr. Bissonnette made a motion that the enhanced APA Protocol as presented to CRC be adopted. Mr. Ramjan seconded the motion.
The motion passed unanimously (6-0).
IPR Senior Management Analyst Reinke presented the Timeliness of Administrative Investigation Report. The report included the following:
Summary of key findings:
1. The overall timeliness of investigations is beginning to improve, but current performance is short of expectations.
2. Recent tracking enhancements have helped pinpoint time-lag concerns. Further enhancements are possible.
3. The traditional approach of reporting only the percent of cases that meet a particular timeline provided limited information for tracking improvements.
4. The numerous review stages add substantial amounts of time to the end of a case.
Summary of recommendations:
1. IPR and IA should enhance tracking of case timeliness for future reviews, division management, and reporting.
2. IPR should improve its reporting on timeliness.
3. IPR and IA should work on improved communication with the Police Bureau’s Detective Division to ensure that administrative phases of investigations are imitated as soon as possible.
4. IPR and the Police Bureau should explore whether Review Board scheduling can be streamlined.
5. The Police Bureau should explore whether the Responsible Unit and Assistant Chief reviews can be streamlined.
6. IPR should continue to refine the quality, scope, and tone expectations with IA so that fewer investigations (or investigative materials) require edits and additional review.
Appeals Workgroup (Mr. Troy): Did not meet in July. Next meeting is scheduled for 8/26/11 at 12:00 noon in Mr. Troy’s office.
Outreach Workgroup (Mr. Miggins): Last met today (8/10/11). The workgroup continued to debrief on the 6/22/11 public forum. One area of concern is improving the notification process. The next public forum will tentatively be held in late October or in January, preferably in Southeast Portland. The Public Satisfaction Survey will be on the agenda of the next meeting, which is scheduled for 9/21/11 at 4:00 p.m. in City Hall. New members are being sought for this workgroup.
Protocol Workgroup: (Mr. Miggins) Workgroup continues to be in suspension.
Recruitment and Retention Workgroup (Mr. Bigham): Due to the absence of Mr. Bigham and Mr. Yarosh, Director Baptista presented a summary of the last meeting, in which the workgroup reviewed its workplan and mission statement. The next meeting is scheduled for 8/31/11 at 4:00 p.m. in City Hall.
Recurring Audit Workgroup (Mr. Ramjan): The workgroup has not met.
Taser/Less-lethal Force Workgroup (Mr. Eriksson): Last meeting was on 8/2/11. Workgroup is continuing to work on its draft workgroup document. The next meeting is scheduled for 8/23/11 at 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Auditor’s Conference Room.
Mr. Handelman expressed disappointment with what he characterized as CRC deciding to do what the Police Bureau arbitrarily tells them to do and thus breaking their trust with the public. Mr. Handelman also said that he thought that the speakers at tonight’s meeting had been rather vague about the Native American community’s interaction with the police and and problems they might have with the police.
Ms. Hannon said she agreed with Mr. Handelman’s comments about CRC “caving in” to the police at tonight’s meeting.
Ms. Aiona said she found it distressing that the Police Bureau, in her words, had “veto power” over CRC’s decision about the APA.
Chair Troy: “According to the ordinance on appeals, a complainant or a member may appear with counsel. And so the ordinance, which has stronger power than the protocol, is very clear, that complainants who are here filing appeals may appeal to counsel. So to the degree that there’s any concern by the public that anything voted upon today would trump that, I assure you the ordinance makes that very clear. And there’s also an ongoing commitment that the National Lawyers Guild continue to offer volunteer advocates for individuals. The volunteer advocates would not have access to Internal Affairs files, but would be able to sit with the individual and be more of an advocate in the truest and traditional sense of that word. So, I think that resolves any point of order that wasn’t allowed to be taken, and I’ll just say my two cents in response to the public, which is that I did not view the collaboration with the police tonight to be catering to the police. I am keenly interested in improving the appeal process. I think we all are. I think there’s a philosophical debate and dispute going on here about how to do that. I’m not serving an advocate role here. I am serving as a citizen volunteer who has been appointed by City Council to try to improve the effectiveness of citizen oversight of the police. I sat through a fair number of appeals last year, and none this year, as we all know, and the status quo was, in my opinion, unacceptable. And the improvement that will come from someone who’s read the file guiding a citizen through this process is, in my opinion, invaluable and will truly level the playing field far more than putting every jot and tittle of what you want someone that’s an APA to do. I very much disagree with writing with specificity each and every little thing you want an APA to do, because I believe, as Ms. Baptista pointed out, that you are then going to hamper someone from doing more for that individual in the future…. And there’s nothing that precludes everyone from testing out this version that we’ve just voted on today, see how it works or adds to the appeals process, and then reopening a discussion….”
Chair Troy adjourned the meeting at 8:15 p.m.