JANUARY 21, 1999
Citizen Advisors Present: Charles Ford, Presiding; Gene Bales; Deborah
Haring; Les Frank; Leora Mahoney; Robert Ueland; William Warren; Robert
Citizen Advisors Absent: Marina Anttila, Steve Heck; Dapo Sobomehin
City Staff Present: Capt. Bill Bennington, IAD; Sgt. Vince Jarmer, IAD; Sgt.
Pam Kauffman, IAD; Lisa Botsko, PIIAC Staff; Sgt. John Smith, IAD
Media Present: Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian; Dan Handelmann, Flying Focus
Ford opened the meeting. Advisor approved the September and November meeting
PIIAC Appeal #98-09: The appellant was not present. Warren and Botsko
summarized. The appellant, a hospital charge nurse, complained that PPB
detectives, who had been interviewing a juvenile patient, were rude to her and
ignored her concerns about the boy.
The investigation revealed that detectives had been interviewing a patient
who witnessed a murder, and had himself been assaulted during the crime.
Testimony differed about what instructions the detectives were given about
proceeding with an interview. The attending nurse stated that he had to summon
the appellant when detectives ignored his requests to cease the interview when
their questioning became aggressive. He [the nurse] stated that detectives said
they would cease the interview only upon doctor’s orders. Detectives disputed
ever being asked to cease the interview.
The appellant stated that when she entered the room, she was concerned about
the patient’s well-being and asked whether his parents should be there. She was
told the parents were in Mexico, as the patient was an illegal alien, and she
was then backed out of the room where she was subsequently treated rudely,
threatened with handcuffing and arrest.
There were some discrepancies in testimony; detectives stated that the
appellant came into the room in a belligerent and ordering manner, not asking a
question at all. Other witnesses had differing views on whether or not the
detectives were rude to the appellant.
Botsko said that part of the difficulty with the complaint was that the
appellant raised questions about the patient’s legal rights, rather than
focusing on his medical well-being. Otherwise the complaint would have to be
reviewed in a different light. Still, there is no written guideline or protocol
about interviews or other police actions in this particular custodial setting.
In her view, the more important allegation was whether the attending nurse had
requested the interview cease or slow, and whether the detectives had ignored
Capt. Bennington said he reviewed the case and all the elements of a sound
decision were there. The detectives did not interfere with the subject’s medical
condition. On the other hand, it is a felony to interfere with an investigation,
and in this case, the detectives were representing the deceased victim by
conducting this investigation. Because of the circumstances and setting, Capt.
Bennington viewed this as a communications issue.
Bob Ueland said that the complaint was not that the patient’s health was
damaged. He saw no reason to prolong the investigation. Robert Wells asked
whether the attending nurse called a supervisor for a reason -- had there been a
Ford said that he did not think good judgment had been demonstrated on either
side. He felt that the appellant’s concern was appropriate, and that detectives
should have demonstrated better patience and sensitivity. He reminded the panel
of a previous complaint they had dealt with, involving how an officer interacted
with a minor female whose car was being towed.
Bales said that the appellant should have been listened to more; the charge
nurse is, after all, in charge. Wells said he worked in a hospital for ten
years. The care and well-being
of a patient is up to subordinate care-givers, not just a physician.
Ueland suggested discussing the protocol question with training, as well as
address the policy issue in a monitoring report. He then made a motion to affirm
the PPB investigation and finding; Frank seconded. The motion carried
Ueland added a point that mediation had been offered but declined. He thought
this would have been a good option, as both sides would have had an opportunity
to vent but not necessarily each get their own way. Ford suggested inviting the
new Mediation Center director to a meeting.
PIIAC Appeal #98-10: Botsko summarized. The appellant claimed that as he was
coming out of a tavern, an unidentified female bicyclist ran into him and
knocked him over. Shortly thereafter, this same person tackled him to the ground
from behind, knelt into his back so painfully he had to throw her off. She
turned out to be a Portland police officer, the same person who earlier ran him
The officer’s report stated that the appellant had been cursing at her. When
she approached him to ask him what his problem was, he attempted to hit her. She
and her partner placed him in their vehicle and transported him. He had to be
forcibly placed in and out of the car, and forcibly transferred to an Explorer
where he kicked the window off its track. Polaroid photos of this window were
placed in the IAD file. The police report also stated that the appellant’s feet
had to be tied down to prevent him from kicking. He was cited
IAD declined further investigation partly because of the discrepancies, but
also because the clothing that the first bicyclist was said to have worn is not
the clothing of a Portland police officer.
The appellant addressed the panel. He recounted his complaint, and when
asked, described the bicyclist as wearing a white t-shirt with cutoff shorts.
She was carrying a pager, not a gun. He contested Capt. Bennington’s declination
letter, which referred to the appellant’s having pled guilty to the charges. He
said that was no basis for rejecting his complaint, he had in fact pled "no
The appellant’s attorney was present. He told the panel that the appellant
entered the "no contest" plea because he wanted to put this incident behind him,
and the two charges had been combined.
Ueland asked if the police officer had been accompanied? The appellant he
never saw another officer until later, when one pulled up in a vehicle. [Police
report indicates that the officer was working with a partner.] He also was not
injured enough to seek medical attention.
Frank asked him about the amount of time he spent in the tavern. The
appellant said he had been drinking coffee and watching television.
Ueland made a motion to affirm IAD’s declination; Haring seconded. The motion
carried [Y-6; Abstain - Bales; Warren].
Bales told the appellant that the committee had two different stories that
were difficult to reconcile, especially since part of the appellant’s
description really didn’t fit. Ueland said that the appellant was not claiming
injury, and asked him what he had wanted from IAD? The appellant said he had
wanted IAD to address the issue of the falsified police report.
PIIAC Appeal #98-11: Botsko summarized. IAD had declined the complaint, which
was filed from a man arrested under the Domestic Violence Act. His wife had
called 9-1-1, complaining that he had threatened her. The 9-1-1 calltaker noted
in the file that the appellant could be heard shouting in the background.
Because officers took a report that the appellant threatened the wife, they had
to make a mandatory arrest. Although the appellant claimed that he was roughly
treated during the rest, he brought this up in a minor way, almost as an
afterthought, and was primarily interested in proving that officers and his wife
had lied in the police reports and in court.
Capt. Bennington said that a control maneuver had been used against the
appellant, but he had not been injured.
Wells said that these allegations are not in PIIAC’s purview. He moved to
affirm the declination; Mahoney seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Elections: Bob Ueland made a motion to retain the current slate [Ford chair,
Heck vice-chair]; Wells seconded. The motion carried unanimously [Y-8]. Ford
said that he wanted to delegate more responsibility to Heck, such as chairing
Bales said that one good question to have on the PIIAC appeal request form is
what the appellant hopes to accomplish. That might help clarify their appeals,
and help determine whether it is even something PIIAC should be taking.
Ford announced that the African-American Advisory Council had recently held a
public meeting about police-community relations. Botsko said that while she was
not able to attend, she did speak with Rep. Bowman about what PIIAC currently is
and is not set up to review. The Council will consider this information when
drawing up their recommendations.
Handelman would like the PIIAC city code to reflect that any PPB internal
investigation is reviewable. He believes the cost of independent civilian review
would pay for itself with the reduction in tort claims. He said that the Council
Informal that met to discuss possible changes occurred nearly a year ago, in
He was disturbed that the second case heard, about the potential bicycle
accident, did not go forward.
The meeting adjourned.