Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee
December 9, 1999
(Approved January 13, 2000)
Citizen Advisors Present: Charles Ford, Presiding; Robert Ueland; Ric
Alexander; Gene Bales; Jose Martinez; Dapo Sobomehin; Denise Stone; Robert
Wells; Kitsy Brown Mahoney; Shirlie Karl (non-voting)
Citizen Advisors Absent: Leora Mahoney; Les Frank (on leave of
City Staff Present: Capt. Bret Smith, IAD; Sgt. Jerry Jones, IAD; Sgt.
Vince Jarmer, IAD; Ms. Adrianne Brockman, Deputy City Attorney; Dr. Michael
Hess, PIIAC Examiner
Media Present: Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch)
Mr. Ford opened the meeting at approximately 5:30 p.m. The PIIAC Citizen
Advisors and the City Staff introduced themselves. Mr. Ford welcomed two new
PIIAC advisors, Ms. Karl and Ms. Brown Mahoney.
The minutes of the November 12 PIIAC meeting were approved.
Election for Chair and Vice-Chair for Calendar Year 2000: Mr. Ueland moved to
nominate Mr. Ford to continue as Chair and to close the nominations. Motion was
seconded and passed unanimously. Mr. Wells nominated Ms. Denise Stone as
Vice-Chair. There were no other nominations for this position. The nomination
was seconded and passed unanimously.
PIIAC #99-22 (IAD #99-108)
Advisor Stone presented this case, offering a summary of the case and her
recommendations. Appellant was present.
The complaint arose from an April 27, 1999, incident at a parking garage in
downtown Portland. The appellant was attempting to park his car, but the
entrance lane was blocked by another car. The appellant and the owner of the
other vehicle got into a verbal altercation that exacerbated to a physical
confrontation in which the Appellant allegedly pushed the other person away and
the other person allegedly responded by attempting to choke the Appellant. The
police were called, and a Portland Police officer (Officer A) arrived at the
scene several minutes later. The Appellant alleged that Officer A did not
properly perform his duties, was not willing to interview unbiased witnesses at
the scene, and took the side of the alleged assailant by classifying the
incident as mutual combat rather than charging the other car owner of assault.
Advisor Stone noted some flaws in Central Precinct's interview of Officer A
and a lack of clarity by the precinct commander in his disposition letter to the
appellant. However, Advisor Stone did not feel that correction of these flaws
would change the outcome of the inquiry. She therefore recommended that the
advisors should conditionally reaffirm the decision of the precinct commander to
close this inquiry and not proceed with a formal IAD complaint. The conditions
of this recommendation were a debriefing by the IAD Captain to Central Precinct
officers who conduct investigative interviews regarding acceptable interview
standards and techniques and a debriefing with precinct officer who write
letters of disposition to ensure a high standard of completeness and clarity.
The Appellant then presented a long and detailed account of the incident that
led to his complaint against Officer A. The Appellant stated several times that
he perceived himself as the victim of an assault and that Officer A did a
pitiful job of responding to the call and was not even willing to interview
unbiased bystanders despite the Appellant's insistent and exasperated pleas to
Advisor Ueland asked the Appellant if he had filed a complaint against the
alleged assailant with the District Attorney's Office. The Appellant stated that
he did not do so because Officer A's report did not support his allegations.
Captain Smith then pointed out that the Appellant did not request a copy of the
police report until just this week, so he could not have known what Officer A
wrote in his report.
Chairman Ford suggested that perhaps this complaint should be returned to IAD
for further investigation. Advisor Ueland moved that the committee accept the
recommendations with the conditions put forth by Advisor Stone. Captain Smith
stated that he had already debriefed the Central Precinct Commander regarding
Advisor Ueland therefore changed his motion to reaffirm Commander Kauffman's
decision to close the inquiry and not proceed with a formal IAD investigation.
Advisor Martinez seconded the motion.
Media representative Dan Handelman asked the Chair for clarification of the
finding that was to be voted on, since the finding was not clearly identified in
Captain Kauffman's disposition letter. Captain Smith explained that since this
was an inquiry only, a specific IAD finding was not indicated. The "finding" was
"not to proceed with a full IAD investigation."
Advisor Ueland's motion carried [Y- 5, N-3].
PIIAC #99-15(IAD #98-013)
Appellant was present. Chairman Ford stated that he would abstain from voting
on this case since he was acquainted with the Appellant. PIIAC Examiner Hess
presented the case as follows:
This complaint arose over an incident that occurred at approximately 12:30
a.m. on December 24, 1997. The Appellant went to a convenience store on Powell
and 82nd to buy a package of gum. When he exited the store, he went to a bank of
pay phones in front of the store and apparently made a call. While on the phone,
he engaged in a conversation with a young woman (Witness A), who was standing
near the phones. At some time during the conversation, the Appellant gave
Witness A twenty-five cents to use the phone to call for a ride.
Officer A was parked on the other side of the street eating a snack. He
observed the Appellant holding the phone and engaging in a conversation with
Witness A. When the Appellant drove away, Officer A asked his colleague (Officer
B) to follow the Appellant's car while he (Officer A) questioned Witness A.
Witness A told Officer A that the Appellant had asked her if she was a
"working girl" (street parlance for "prostitute") and she told him he was not.
Witness A told Officer A that she was convinced that the Appellant was trying to
engage her in prostitution, and she was willing to testify to this in court.
Officer A then radioed Officer B, informing him that he had sufficient probable
cause to stop the Appellant.
Officer B stopped the Appellant in the vicinity of 82nd and Stark. He asked
the Appellant for his driver's license, registration, and insurance, and told
him to wait there because Officer A wanted to talk to him.
When Officer A arrived at the scene of the stop, he questioned the Appellant
about his interaction with Witness A. The Appellant's account of the
conversation somewhat corresponded with what Witness A had told Officer A except
in the potentially incriminatory details. Officer A made a decision to arrest
the Appellant for Unlawful Prostitution Procurement Activity, a Portland city
Officer A then ordered a tow for the Appellant's car and took the Appellant
to East Precinct for processing. Officer B stayed at the scene until the tow
truck arrived. After processing the necessary paperwork, Officer A gave the
Appellant a Citation in Lieu of Custody and released him outside of East
Precinct at approximately 2:30 a.m. The Appellant had to walk home from East
Precinct to Northeast Portland. On the way home he had a frightening experience
in which he was accosted by a carload of racists, who hurled racist epithets at
The Appellant's complaints were summarized as follows:
1. That he was arrested without sufficient cause, there having been no
discussion about sex or offer of money to the young woman outside the
2. That his car was unjustly towed.
3. That he was released at East Precinct at 2:30 a.m. and had to walk home to
4. That Officer A was a racist.
Based on his complete examination of the IAD file, Dr. Hess gave the
following analysis of the complaints:
1. Officer A did have probable cause based on his observations, his
experience as a police officer, and his interviews of Witness A and the
Appellant. The burden of proof for an arrest (probable cause) is less rigorous
than the burden of proof for a conviction (beyond reasonable doubt).
2. In performing an arrest an officer has the discretion to order the
suspect's vehicle to be towed. The Appellant's vehicle was obstructing the flow
of traffic on 82nd, and there was a computer in the vehicle that was at risk of
being stolen if the car had been left at that location.
3. It is within General Orders and is acceptable practice for an officer to
take an arrested person to the precinct to research the regulations and to
complete paperwork and processing. Officer A was not clear whether Unlawful
Prostitution Procurement Activity was a jailable offense, and he needed to
research this. An arresting officer is not obligated or authorized to supply a
ride a person released from custody. There are pay phones outside of the
precinct building, and according to the police report, the Appellant had two
dollars and could have called someone to pick him up.
4. There is no evidence of racial comments or of a racial motivation for the
Dr. Hess stated that the initial IAD investigation had not been complete and
had been returned to IAD for further investigation. The re-investigation was
much more thorough. The Appellant, Witness A, and Officer B were not interviewed
during the initial investigation, but they were interviewed when the
investigation was re-done. The questions raised by Ms. Botsko in her review of
the initial investigation were addressed in the follow-up investigation. The
major concern of the PIIAC examiner was the extreme lack of timeliness of the
investigation, which ended up taking almost two years to complete.
Dr. Hess recommended that the PIIAC advisors uphold the revised IAD findings
after the second investigation (i.e., Conduct: exonerated with debriefing;
Disparate Treatment: unfounded; Procedure: exonerated).
The Appellant then gave his account of the incident. The Appellant stated
that he had not made any sexual advances toward Witness A. He said that he did
talk to her for some time, but that he refused to give her a ride because he saw
the police car across the street. He said that he gave her twenty-five cents to
make a phone call. The Appellant said that he did not understand why Officer A
would give more credibility to Witness A than to him. He said that he had only
two dollars in his pocket. He denied that Officer A had found a condom in his
pocket, but stated that the condom was found in the trunk of the car and did not
belong to him. He said that Officer A should not have ordered his car towed and
that he should have been reimbursed for the towing and storage cost since he was
not charged with a crime by the district attorney's office. He recounted the
frightening episode while walking home late at night, stating that he could not
have called anyone for a ride because it was so late and he did not have his
address book with him.
Advisor Ueland asked the Appellant if anyone had explained to him that there
is a procedure through which a person may attempt to obtain reimbursement for
towing charges. The Appellant said that no one had ever told him about that.
Advisor Wells stated that in his mind the allegation of racism was the most
serious of the allegations. He asked the Appellant what exactly gave him the
impression that either of the officers was racist. The Appellant replied that he
is alleging racism only on the part of Officer A. He said that he knew Officer A
to be a racist because in past dealings with him, he had an arrogant attitude
around African American persons. He said that what offended him most was when
Officer A used the words "people like you."
Advisor Ueland made the point that the investigation revealed no evidence of
racism with respect to Officer A, but that the re-investigation did lead to a
change of the conduct finding from "unfounded" to "exonerated with
At the request of Chairman Ford, Captain Smith explained that "debriefing"
means that the officer's supervisor goes over all of the allegations with the
officer and discusses each area of concern that the complainant may have had.
The debriefing includes areas in which the officer could have done better and
clarification of the relevant laws.
Advisor Ueland made a motion to uphold the revised IAD findings. Advisor
Brown Mahoney seconded the motion. The motion passed [Y -7, N-1].
Chairman Ford abstained.
Advisor Ueland suggested that the problem of persons being left without
transportation following a police action should be looked at as a monitoring
issue. Advisor Sobomehin made an impassioned and eloquent plea for fairness on
the part of the police and PIIAC. Advisor Martinez stated that it is important
for police officers to be fully aware of the elements of a crime before
arresting a citizen. Chairman Ford emphasized the need for the police bureau to
readdress the issue of cultural training for officers. Advisor Wells asked
Captain Smith to provide the PIIAC Advisory Committee with documentation of what
cultural training is currently offered for officers. Advisor Ueland told the
Appellant that the PIIAC Examiner could refer him to Risk Management to file a
request for reimbursement of towing costs.
Dr. Hess advised the Appellant to submit a written request within 30 days if
he desires to take his appeal before City Council.
Mr. Ford announced that the next meeting of the PIIAC advisory committee
[January 13, 2000] would again be held in the Rose Room of the Portland City
A community member expressed her concern about the probable cause for
arresting a person simply for speaking to or flirting with another person on the
street. She also argued that the finding on the Disparate Treatment aspect of
the latter case should have been "Unable to Determine" rather than "Exonerated."
[Note: finding was actually "Unfounded"]
Another community member stated that there is an ongoing problem in
communication between police and the community as evidenced by the large number
of citizen complaints regarding communication issues. She also stated that PIIAC
advisors should show more understanding when persons of minority backgrounds
feel put down because of their race.
Mr. Handelman from Portland Copwatch announced that a new issue of the
Copwatch newsletter is now available. He stated that sometimes laws get passed
that are too broad and give officers the power to be "thought police," where a
person can be just asking a question of somebody and be suspected of
prostitution. He stated that Captain Smith "took the wind out of the sails" of
PIIAC by already debriefing the Central Precinct Commander regarding the first
case when that was going to be one of PIIAC's recommendations.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by
Michael H. Hess, D.D.S.