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3rd and 4th Quarter 2000 Monitoring Report

CITIZEN ADVISORS TO THE POLICE INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS
AUDITING COMMITTEE (PIIAC) MONITORING REPORT
THIRD AND FOURTH QUARTERS YEAR 2000
Monitoring Subcommittee Members
Robert Ueland, Chair
Robert Wells
Denise Stone
Ric Alexander
Michael H. Hess, PIIAC Examiner
 
Approved by PIIAC Citizen Advisors:
Submitted to City Council:
 
CITIZEN ADVISORS MONITORING REPORT TO THE
POLICE INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS AUDITING COMMITTEE (PIIAC)
July through December 2000
 
The PIIAC Citizen Advisors Monitoring Subcommittee is responsible for surveying cases handled by the Portland Police Bureau's Internal Affairs Division (PPB/IAD) involving citizens’ and PPB employees' complaints about alleged police misconduct. The Subcommittee analyzes complaints, IAD investigations, and Risk Management data to "highlight trends of police performance, suggesting necessary Police Bureau policy and procedural changes. Patterns of behavior, unclear procedures, policy issues and training needs may be identified for review."
This report combines monitoring results from the last two quarters of year 2000. Appendix A consists of definitions of IAD complaint categories and findings. Appendix B contains IAD year-end statistics. Appendix C is Chief Kroeker’s response to the first and second quarter 2000 monitoring report.
 
I. PIIAC/IAD STAFFING
 
A. PIIAC Advisory Committee
Charles Ford (Mayor Katz) and Denise Stone (Commissioner Sten) continue to serve as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the PIIAC Citizen Advisory Committee. The 13-member Advisory Committee remains unchanged since the last monitoring report. Two Advisors (East Portland and Northwest Coalition appointees) have stated their intent to resign due to other commitments.
B. Internal Affairs Division (IAD)
On September 28, 2000, the IAD staff was doubled in size. A lieutenant, five investigators, and one support person were added to the staff.
 
II. APPEALED CASES
 
During calendar year 2000 PIIAC received 32 appeals. From July through December 2000 the following cases were heard:
PIIAC #00-08 (IAD #99-094). Appellant alleged a Portland Police officer used excessive force in arresting him following a domestic disturbance service call. Advisors voted unanimously to affirm the finding of Insufficient Evidence with Debriefing (Use of Force). Appellant appealed to City Council, which unanimously affirmed the decision of the Advisors.
PIIAC #00-10 (IAD #98-155). Appellant alleged a Portland Police officer used excessive force when placing his son into custody; that his son was held in custody for an excessive amount of time; that the officer failed to identify himself; and that he used profanity. Advisors decided by majority vote to affirm the findings of Exonerated (Communication); Exonerated (Use of Force); Insufficient Evidence (Procedure: failure of officer to provide his name and number); Insufficient Evidence (Procedure: excessive time of detention of a juvenile); they voted unanimously to return the case to IAD for further investigation of an allegation about a lock pick that the officer claimed to find in the juvenile’s possession but did not appear on the property report. The case was appealed to City Council, which recommended changing two of the findings (on Use of Force and Procedure) to Insufficient Evidence. Chief Kroeker has not yet responded to this recommenda-tion.
PIIAC #00-12 (IAD #99-227). Appellant alleged Portland Police officers used excessive force against him when he disobeyed a police officer’s command not to jaywalk across a busy street; that an officer lied to him; and that the same officer issued him an improper citation and subsequently failed to file it because he knew it was improper. Advisors decided by majority vote to affirm the findings of Exonerated (Use of Force); Unfounded (Conduct); and Insufficient Evidence (Procedure).
PIIAC #99-27 (IAD #99-014). Appellant alleged Portland Police officers used excessive force against him, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend's son following a robbery investigation at their apartment and that officers were rude and insulting during the incident. Advisors decided by majority vote to affirm the findings of Insufficient Evidence and Exonerated (Use of Force) and Exonerated (Communication).
PIIAC #00-13 (IAD #00-152). Appellant alleged a Portland Police officer and two police desk clerks did not submit a Citizen Crime Report listing items that the Appellant reported stolen from his car. Advisors voted unanimously to affirm the declination of this case for lack of merit. Appellant appealed to City Council, which unanimously affirmed the decision of the Advisors.
PIIAC #00-14 (IAD #99-089). Appellant alleged that Portland Police reserve officers used excessive force in arresting him; used profanity; did not tell him that his vehicle was being towed; refused to identify themselves when requested; failed to put a seatbelt on him before transporting him; made false statements in their police reports; and that another Portland Police officer exceeded the speed limit and drove carelessly while transporting him to the Justice Center. A second Appellant alleged that backup police officers at the scene would not let her go to the car to remove her personal belongings and would not let her speak with witnesses at the scene; and that a female officer told her, "If you didn't have your underpants on so tight, you would know what's going on here." Advisors decided by majority vote to affirm the findings of Exonerated (Use of Force); Insufficient Evidence (Communication); Exonerated with Debriefing (Procedure) regarding the reserve officers; and to affirm the findings of Unfounded (Procedure), Exonerated (Procedure), and Unfounded (Communications) regarding other officers.
PIIAC #00-15 (IAD #98-054). Appellant alleged a Portland police officer used excessive force in removing her from her van and arresting her. Advisors decided by majority vote to recommend changing the Use of Force finding from Unfounded to Insufficient Evidence. This recommendation was referred to City Council. The Council decided to postpone hearing the case until the Appellant’s court case is settled.
PIIAC #00-13 (IAD #00-152). Appellant alleged a Portland Police officer sprayed him with pepper spray when he was handcuffed and seatbelted in the back of a police car; that another unidentified officer "emptied" a can of pepper spray on him; that officers did not rinse his face; that officers piled additional charges on him; that Portland police officers have a "personal vendetta" against him. Advisors voted unanimously to affirm the declination of this case due to lack of merit. Appellant appealed to City Council, which upheld the declination by majority vote.
PIIAC #00-01 (IAD #99-270). Appellant alleged a Portland Police officer was harassing his son because of his son’s alleged drug activity; that the officer told the appellant’s 12-year-old granddaughter that he and her father were "SOBs," and that her father was a "no-good slimebag piece of shit"; that officers intentionally waited until his son was released from prison to serve an arrest warrant on him; and that officers pushed their way into the son’s house and searched it without a warrant. Advisors decided by majority vote to affirm the declination of the procedural aspect of the complaint and to affirm the findings of Insufficient Evidence (Communication) and Exonerated (Conduct). However, the Advisors voted to refer the case to the Monitoring Subcommittee to address an apparent conflict of interest based on the precinct commander assigning the investigation to the officer’s sergeant, who was with him during the incident.
PIIAC #00-11 (IAD #99-159). Appellant alleged Portland Police officers used excessive force in handcuffing him, resulting in hairline fractures and bone chips in both elbows; that an officer tackled him after he was handcuffed; that an officer sprayed pepper spray directly into his eyes; that officers laughed when he requested medical attention; and that officers wrote false police reports. Advisors decided by unanimous vote to affirm the findings of Exonerated (Use of Force) and Unfounded (Conduct) .
PIIAC #00-18 (IAD #00-221). Appellant alleged that a Portland Police officer lied in court about the facts leading up to a traffic citation. Advisors voted unanimously to affirm the declination of this case due to lack of merit. Appeal to City Council is pending.
PIIAC #00-17 (IAD #99-259, 99-260). Appellant alleged that while assisting in dispersing a public demonstration a Portland Police lieutenant broke the co-Appellant’s arm and dragged him to jail although he needed medical attention; that an officer pushed the Appellant into the street in front of a passing car; that unidentified officers called her a "liberal commie bitch" and made comments about shooting and beating protestors. Advisors decided by majority vote to affirm all the findings. Appeal to City Council has been postponed until the court case is settled.
 
PIIAC #00-21 (IAD #00-204). Appellant alleged that a Portland Police officer lied in his police report about the circumstances surrounding the Appellant’s arrest; that the officer was not justified in ordering the Appellant’s vehicle to be towed; that the officers actions were based on the Appellant’s homeless status; and that the officer perjured himself in court. Advisors voted unanimously to affirm the declination of this case due to lack of merit. Appeal to City Council is pending.
Summary:
Of the 13 cases reviewed by PIIAC in the last two quarters of Year 2000, PIIAC Advisors made the following decisions:
 
 
 
Decision
No.of cases
Findings affirmed
11
Returned to IAD for further investigation
1
Recommended change of finding
1
 
III. MONITORING ACTIVITY
The Monitoring Subcommittee randomly monitors closed cases, including those that involve use of force, disparate treatment, complaints with sustained findings, and cases that went to PPB’s Review Level Committee. In the last two quarters of year 2000 we audited 22 closed IAD investigations (36% of the 61 IAD cases that were closed in this time frame).
 
FINDINGS F
HCATEGORY
Unfoun-ded
Exon-erated
Insuff.
Evid.
Sus-
tained
Inquiry
Sus-
pended
Declined
Media-
tion
Total
Force
5
11
0
1
NA
0
2
NA
19
Control Tech-niques (new)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Conduct
4
5
3
2
0
0
4
0
18
Disparate Treatment
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
Communication (New: Courtesy)
3
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
5
Procedure
3
1
0
1
0
0
2
0
7
(Note: A single complaint may reflect multiple allegations and findings and may involve more than one officer.)
Sustained complaints were initiated both internally (from Police Bureau members) and externally (from citizens). Sustained allegations included procedural misconduct (detaining a man who was walking to a substance abuse class); rude and unprofessional performance during a response to a domestic violence call; an officer who was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants; unlawful operation of an emergency vehicle; and excessive use of force.
 
IV. FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS QUARTERLY REPORT
 
We have reviewed Chief Kroeker’s responses to the January-June 2000 PIIAC recommendations (see Attachment A) and are pleased to note that he has concurred with many of our concerns and has taken steps to implement some of the recommendations. However, we continue to have concerns about some of these issues.
Additional IAD Staff
We commend Chief Kroeker for his response to our recommendation to assign additional IAD investigators to address the chronic problem of lack of timeliness. Chief Kroeker exceeded PIIAC’s recommendation for three additional sergeants. On September 28, 2000, he assigned five additional sergeants, a lieutenant, and one additional support staff person to IAD. We hope that this will produce the desired results and will help the police bureau to "stay the course" to reduce the excessive lengths of time that complainants and officers have been forced to endure.
Use of Profanity
In July 1999 General Order regarding Courtesy (G.O. 310.40) was revised to state in part that "no member shall use profanity in the performance of their duties except where necessary to establish control or to quote another person in police reports or in testimony." PIIAC's concern is that the language in this General Order could be used to justify an officer’s use of profanity when it may be inappropriate, such as in most traffic accidents and routine traffic stops.
We recognize there are situations where use of profanity may be justified as a control measure. This would fall in the Use of Force Continuum under the heading of Verbal Direction. As with all use of force, use of progressively stronger language, including raising the voice and using profanity, could be justified when a citizen fails to follow an officer’s command, especially in a situations involving officer safety. What we object to is the current wording of General Order 310.40, which could be interpreted as allowing the use of profanity in even the most innocuous situations.
Chief Kroeker responded in March 2000 that he concurs with our recommendation and that a Chief’s staff meeting would be held to address the profanity wording in the General Order. We are concerned that after nearly a year there is still no resolution of this issue.
We continue to await revision of G.O. 310.40 making the guidelines for acceptable use of profanity more specific.
Diversity Training
IAD Statistics continue to show that nearly 25 percent of IAD complaints are from persons of color. In the December 2000 Chief Kroeker issued the final report of the task force on racial profiling. As a result of this report, all traffic and pedestrian stops by police officers, with the exception of motorcycle police, are now being documented by race and reason for the stop. Chief Kroeker has also supported Spanish language and cultural training in the Portland Police Advanced Academy and is arranging for officers who have completed Spanish language classes to spend time living with Mexican families in Mexico.
PIIAC recommended in past reports that in addition to the diversity training provided in the Academy, the Police Bureau should regularly cycle a refresher course of diversity training in the In-Service Training for all officers. The response to our recommendation for a regular cycle of diversity training fails to adequately address the issue. Providing a one-hour block of training on transgender issues is commendable, but there is also a need for ongoing training relating to persons of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. To date, there is no indication that this has been implemented. We again request a commitment from the Police Bureau to regularly cycle a refresher course of diversity training in the In-Service Training for officers.
Public Records Policies and Fees
Citizen concerns over the difficulty of accessing public records and the burden which the current schedule of fees places on many citizens has prompted the PIIAC Citizen Advisors to recommend the Portland Police Bureau review the current policies and make the appropriate changes to minimize the cost and difficulty of obtaining public records. We further suggested in our recent Monitoring Report that the Police Bureau make public documents available in public places such as the Internet and libraries. While we appreciate Chief Koeker's willingness to evaluate the policies associated with public records, changes have not yet been implemented. Therefore, the PIIAC Citizen Advisors continue to hear from citizens that records
accessibility and fee schedules are cumbersome and expensive. We strongly urge the Police Bureau to act quickly to simplify public records accessibility and make the fee schedule equitable for all citizens and to make the General Orders and other public records available at public libraries.
Identification by Officers
We continue to see complaints that involve refusal by officers to furnish their name and identification number when requested. We understand that there are times when this is not safe or practical. Perhaps the problem is that the General Order on Identification does not clearly state, "Give the citizen your business card immediately when not unsafe or impractical to do so." The issuance of a citation with the officer’s signature does not fulfill this obligation, nor does simply pointing to one’s nametag or badge. The frequent complaints about this problem indicate a training deficiency, a lack of clarity in the General Orders, or simply a lack of seriousness in enforcing this order. To reduce the number of needless complaints about officers refusing to provide their name and DPSST number, we again recommend that the Chief specifically address this issue with commanding officers and with the Training Division.
Timeliness of IAD Investigations
The PPB General Order on Internal Affairs, Complaint Investigation Process (G.O. 330.00) requires completion of investigations "within 10 weeks of the date the complaint was received by the Bureau." During the current monitoring period we noted an average of fourteen months completion time on investigations that are not declined. With the recent appointment of additional IAD staff, we expect to begin to see a significant improvement in completion time of investigations in the coming months. In order to achieve better timeliness, there needs to be accountability for timeliness from the time of intake level on up. We recommend that a mechanism be instituted whereby all IAD cases are tracked based on how long they have been open and that the IAD Captain and the Chief be provided with a list every month of cases that have been open for over sixty days, ninety days, six months, and one year.
Lifting and Transporting Unwilling or Uncooperative Heavy Persons
In its previous monitoring report PIIAC recommended that training techniques for lifting and transporting heavy persons be reexamined in order to come up with a practical solution to this problem. The Chief responded that the Bureau has produced a video that addresses training techniques for lifting and transporting willing or cooperative heavy persons and will explore additional techniques regarding unwilling persons. We request an update on whether this has been further addressed.
 
VI. NEW ISSUES
 
Internal Investigations Conducted by Precincts
PIIAC has noted a marked decrease in the quality of investigations conducted by precinct personnel. A case in point was IAD Case #99-270, which was assigned to North Precinct for investigation. During the PIIAC examination of this case, it was revealed that this investigation had been assigned to a precinct sergeant who was present at the scene and working with the accused officer at the time of the incident. Although the Advisors deemed that the facts supported the finding in this case, they expressed serious concerns about the manner in which this case had been investigated. We recommend a written protocol for precinct commanders clearly stating how investigations should be conducted and by whom.
Internal Investigations Involving Senior Officers
We recently examined a case where the IAD Captain was directed by his supervisor (an Assistant Chief) to investigate a complaint in which the Captain was named as one of the subjects. PIIAC has had serious concerns in the past (see 1997 Fourth Quarter Monitoring Report) with the issue of who is assigned to investigate a senior officer (captain or above). We again recommend a written protocol to deal with this issue when it arises, so as to remove any appearance of conflict of interest. Our main concern is that a neutral third party supervise or be the point of contact for such an investigation. This could possibly involve an outside agency in some instances. The Chief has noted in the past that the Commissioner of Police has the authority to redirect an investigation, but there is no mechanism at this time to notify the Commissioner of Police before an investigation begins to get direction.
Mediation
Of the 595 closed IAD cases documented in calendar year 2000, none were resolved by mediation. Although mediation is not always an appropriate avenue, it is clearly an option that should be strongly encouraged in many cases, especially those that involve minor courtesy or communication issues. Several years ago there was a mediation pilot program with the Neighborhood Mediation Center that was producing promising results. Since then, mediation appears to have fallen by the wayside. We request that the Chief address the reasons that mediation is no longer happening.
 
Summary of PIIAC Recommendations
  1. We continue to await revision of G.O. 310.40 making the guidelines for acceptable use of profanity more specific.
  2. We again request a commitment from the Police Bureau to regularly cycle a refresher course of diversity training during the In-Service training for all officers.
  3. We strongly urge the Police Bureau to act quickly to simplify public records accessibility and make the fee schedule equitable for all citizens. We look for implementation of the Chief’s commitment to make public documents such as the General Orders available via the Internet. We also repeat our request that the General Orders and other appropriate public documents be made available at public libraries.
  4. To reduce the number of complaints about officers refusing to provide their name and DPSST number, we recommend that the Chief specifically address this issue with the Training Division and commanding officers.
  5. We recommend that a mechanism be instituted whereby all IAD cases are tracked based on how long they have been open and that the IAD Captain and the Chief be provided with a list every month of cases that have been open for over sixty days, ninety days, six months, and one year.
  6. We request an update on whether the problem of lifting and transporting uncooperative and unwilling heavy persons has been further addressed.
  7. We recommend a written protocol to deal with the issue of who is assigned to investigate a senior officer (captain or above) so as to remove any appearance of conflict of interest when this situation arises.
  8. We recommend a written protocol for precinct commanders clearly stating how investigations should be conducted and by whom.
  9. We request that the Chief address the reasons that mediation is no longer happening.
 
Appendix A
IAD COMPLAINT CATEGORIES (Revised 1/12/00)
1. Force: An allegation of excessive or inappropriate physical or deadly physical force. This includes, but is not limited to, all instances where there is an actual injury or an impact weapon was used.
2. Control Techniques: An allegation that a "control technique" was used unreasonably or improperly. This would include control holds, hobble, "takedowns," and handcuffing. Temporary discomfort, skin discoloration or marks, or temporary pain are considered normal consequences of the use of a control technique.
3. Conduct: An allegation that tends to bring reproach or discredit upon the Bureau or City of Portland. It involves behavior by a Bureau member that is unprofessional, unjustified, beyond the scope of their authority, or unsatisfactory work performance. Typically this would include violation of the Bureau's Standard of Conduct, Conform to Laws, Unsatisfactory Performance, Truthfulness, etc.
4. Disparate Treatment: Allegations of specific actions or statements that indicate inappropriate treatment of an individual that is different from the treatment of another, because of :
(a) Race.
(b) Other: sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, economic status, political or religious beliefs, appearance, handicap, etc.
5. Courtesy: Allegations relating to attitude and rude or discourteous conduct other than disparate treatment.
6. Procedure: Allegations that an administrative or procedural requirement was not met. This normally would include G.O.s such as the identification, report writing, notebook entries, and property/evidence handling.
 
FINDING CATEGORIES
1. Unfounded: Claim is false. Based on the facts of the investigation, there is no basis to the allegation.
2. Exonerated: Actions of the officer were within the guidelines of Bureau policy and procedure.
3. Insufficient Evidence: There was not enough evidence to prove or disprove the allegation(s).
4. Sustained: Officer found to be in violation of Bureau policy or procedure.
5. Declined: Police Bureau declines to conduct full investigation.
6. Suspended: Investigation is suspended, usually because complainant fails to provide key information.