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A Portal to Consult Hardesty
Abdicated Levels of Oversight
How many authorities look the other way, when they could play a vital role in police accountability?
“In a society governed by the rule of law, the government, its officials and agents are subject to and held accountable under the law. Modern societies have developed systems of checks and balances, both constitutional and institutional, to limit the reach of excessive government power, and to subject the government power, or ruler, to legal restraints. These checks and bal-ances take many forms in various countries around the world: they do not operate solely in systems marked by a formal separation of powers, nor are they necessarily codified in law. What is essential, however, is that authority is distributed in a manner that ensures that no single organ of government has the practical ability to exercise unchecked power.” – World Justice Project
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, spent a year investigating Portland, Oregon. They found “reasonable cause to believe that a law enforcement agency is engaging in activities that amount to a pattern or practice of violating the Constitution or laws of the United States.” While Madison (right) was fearful of government intrusion, we can assert freedom is equally in jeopardy when agencies do not assume oversight power which has been extended to them.
Made aware that rule of criminal justice law was under threat, most entities have for three years failed to respond...
Hogtied and dying. No preceding criminal act.
...The City’s plea deal with the Feds fuses policing with delivery of mental health care. We contend cops are not temperamentally suited to nurture. They did not choose such a career path, nor have they spent those careers perfecting appropriate tools. We advocated for a reduction in police roles … to remove from cops their proclivity to punish. We believe the Constitution places that decision on the judiciary, in our system of checks and balances.
...African American pastors initiated a call for investigation which led to Department of Justice Findings of illegal police conduct. While we’re imagining officers vowing to adopt humane practices, it’d be nice to think they would do so under supervision by the august Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform.
...Mayor Hales attained the office and assumed responsibilities of Police Commissioner to his own portfolio.
Portland City Council then subverted the open evaluation process Adams had begun. ...
Portland City Council followed their demonstrated incuriosity about best practices by then re-extending the City’s contract with the Portland Police Association for five years. This strategic collaboration with the police union delayed reforms indicated by the City’s own consultants (the OIR Group) and Department of Justice investigators, who counseled it was wise to remove provisions allowing police officers forty-eight hours’ down time prior to making report following use of deadly force. The Bureau employs this interval to cook up ‘plausible but untrue’ accounts of the homicide, which are then reported out by the Internal Affairs Unit. Arbitration provisions in the PPA contract have exclusively benefitted police on rare occasions when they are held accountable for out-of-policy use of force. Arbitrators have reversed every officer discipline meted out by City Council.
Checks and balances are not only in abeyance; they are dangerous for their simulation. Public confidence is supported while end results thwart justice delivery. For those who assume checks and balances are in place, we must point out that the mechanisms all reference and draw from police aspirations. If America values self-governance, we assert readers must agitate to bring other roles into the evaluation of police conduct.
Police Body Cameras: A Tool for or against the People
Oregon legislators to put video evidence from body-worn cameras SOLELY in the hands of police. Were this a police accountability tool, you’d expect broad access to the evidence. Broadcasters and the press are the only voices in opposition. Please consider this information and contact your representatives, senators and community leaders.
Riding a wave of demands for police reform,
we may sacrifice good governance and civil rights.
On 10 December 2014, Consult Hardesty partners derailed an attempt by the Portland Police Bureau to slip a nearly million-dollar spending proposal past our City Council. Pretending to merely solicit information, PPB intended to commit to purchasing body-worn cameras. We provided the above screen shot of the proposed bid, scheduled to drop five days following the close of the meeting.
Voting to table the police proposal, Commissioner Dan Saltzman observed, “It does seem to me we’re putting the cart before the horse. We have not received any legislative protections for what can be released to the public or to the media.”
He followed fear-of-exposure with political analysis: “I’m not so sure when the legislature is going to provide us those protections, because I know how powerful the Oregon newspaper association can be.”
Saltzman was well aware that police agencies throughout Washington State had put their body-worn camera programs on hold. Silicon Forest software geeks had exercised their legal right to see the public record. Eric Rachner won more than $60,000 in settlements after suing Seattle PD for lying, and withholding video of his bogus arrest for playing Frisbee. He reinvested the money, formed the Center for Open Policing (SEACOP), and the nonprofit won $23,000 after Washington State Patrol lied about dashcam video of an aberrant traffic stop. “Through their shrewd use of Washington’s Public Records Act, the two Seattle residents are now the closest thing the city has to a civilian police-oversight board,” reported the Washington Post.
The idea of police oversight is anathema to Portland City Council. They fear it. The City paused in its desire to grab a share of Obama’s $75,000,000 for body-worn cameras … to lend its lobbyists to those of the immensely profitable Taser and law enforcement proponents, and carve loopholes in Oregon’s vaunted open records laws. …Taser isn’t just targeting Oregon: “Lawmakers in at least fifteen states have introduced bills to exempt video recordings of police encounters with citizens from state public records laws, or to limit what can be made public,” reports the Guardian.
The plan is not to improve transparency in policing.
House Bill 2571A now snakes through the Oregon legislature … with solid liberal support. The proposed law relies on officer beliefs, for establishing when to initiate recording. The legislation’s intent, however is to prohibit “the use of any recordings obtained from the camera for any purpose other than a legitimate law enforcement purpose.” Recordings “are the property of the law enforcement agency,” and cannot be used by anyone “for any purpose inconsistent with the policies and procedures of the law enforcement agency.”
America now enters an era when police have been exposed for failing to police themselves. Should the state act to stymie emerging, citizen-based accountability structures? We think not. The People should have continued access to records they’ve paid to collect. Illegal police conduct should not lead to suppressed access to information.
In his 180 seconds of testimony, partner Roger David Hardesty (left) offered detailed recommendations which might precede any plan to introduce cameras. (Five months later, no implementation plan has been submitted for public review.) He also submitted several documents outlining policy decisions which would logically precede investment in hardware. Adopted policies could be expected to describe intended functionality, prior to soliciting for bids.
Of course, Consult Hardesty advocated for transparency and greater public involvement, even citing a District of Columbia Police Complaints Board: “To ensure the most effective policy, the needs and concerns of the many stakeholders throughout the District should be assessed and incorporated to the maximum extent possible.”… America now enters an era when local authority can no longer be allowed to structurally shield police conduct from public review.
Public (and even judicial) oversight of police is anathema to Portland City Council. Consult Hardesty has long contended that poor outcomes in justice delivery require the City to stop allowing police to exonerate themselves. Our Mayor, acting as a Police Commissioner, wants police made responsible for overseeing video records they produce. We say checks and balances hold high value. An external body should be responsible for record retention, and culling through the evidence for ‘service improvement opportunities’ and outright illegal acts. House Bill 2571A would prevent such review.
Forty seven years ago today, the revolutionary freedom fighter Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
For years Dr. King had been the target of vicious death threats, including from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Dr. King's tragic and untimely death dealt a major blow to the civil rights and Black liberation movements. Through the 1970's both movements were the targets of assassinations and take-down schemes by the FBI's COINTELPRO Program.
But Dr. King's struggle for an end to police brutality and full economic and human rights for Black people in America is alive today -- and just as critical-- than it has been since he was alive. In the last sermon Dr. King spoke to his unrelenting vision for a more just and free world: "We’ve got some difficult days ahead...I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”
Join more than 200,000 ColorOfChange members in urging Pres. Obama to pass an executive order enforcing and expanding the civil rights laws and bans on discriminatory policing fought for and won by the civil rights movement:EndPoliceAbuse.org
For more info: please see:
Calling For a New Result
Who should analyze police misconduct? It’s time we take oversight out of cops’ hands.
Police accountability experts ARE available.
In other posts, we describe the role of a Community Oversight Advisory Board (COAB), installed as part of a Federal agreement that the City of Portland, Oregon eliminates illegal use of force in policing. Unfortunately, the prime influence on this body of political appointees and citizen volunteers have been the perpetrators of civil rights violations … and their agents. The City seeks to keep intact as much of what DoJ Findings (pg. 27) termed a ‘self-defeating accountability system’ as it can. In it’s second public meeting, COAB was encouraged to retain the very data analysis that has allowed civil rights violations to fester, unchecked.
Wide-ranging expertise on research methodology is available.
We’d like to introduce Dr. Tracie L. Keesee, Co-founder and Director of Research Partnerships for the Center for Policing Equity. We spoke last week with the recently appointed Project Director for the US Attorney General’s National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.
Dr. Keesee indicated all she needed was an invitation, and she’d bring to Portland her considerable expertise. Her new appointment empowers a team to partner on research that “promotes police transparency and accountability, by facilitating innovative research collaborations between law enforcement agencies and empirical social scientists.”
In particular, Keesee wants COAB to know of resources available through the DoJ’s Office of Justice Programs’ Diagnostic Center. This government entity “works closely with communities to diagnose their unique public safety challenges and implement data-driven programs tailored to minimize future risks and enhance community strengths.”
rest of the story: http://www.consulthardesty.com/call-to-action/data
It's getting tougher to ignore the numbers:
Morris Dees says, "Victims are piling up around us."
"African Americans are incarcerated at six times the rate of white people … cities have revived debtors’ prisons that punish and exploit the poorest, most vulnerable among us. While perhaps its most visible and horrifying signpost, the criminal justice system is merely one part of a larger, structural problem."
He observes 90 million eligible voters did not use their ballot.
UPDATE: Installation of new officers, 17 Jan 2015.
Portland’s NAACP Chapter will have new leadership. Consult Hardesty’s Principal Partner,
Jo Ann Hardesty, has been elected President. James Posey will serve as 1st Vice President.
“I am humbled by the faith the Chapter has placed in me, to lead our efforts during this historic time. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the NAACP Portland Chapter, and the need for this civil rights organization is as pressing today as it was a century ago,” declared Jo Ann, in her November press release.
Installation of new leaders will take place at noon on Saturday, 17 January 2015, at the Oregon Trail Chapter of the Portland Red Cross. Retired Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz will swear in the new team at the beginning of the Chapter’s first, monthly meeting of 2015. UPDATE: Marilyn Keller will perform.
Color of Change & Cogent Police Reform Demand
All are invited to share in plans to revitalize the Chapter. High priorities include developing a youth branch, and celebrating a hundred-year perspective of the group’s work.
Call to action:
Jo Ann has challenged her new board to recruit 101 new members. Here is an application.
Bring payment to the January meeting, or mail it to the Post Office Box at the link. We’re asking all social justice advocates (you, reading this) to solicit three friends for membership.
Consider making an additional $15 donation to cover one youth membership. We’ll be offering these in order to establish a Youth Council in Portland, part of a critical mission handed to the Chapter by the Alaska Oregon Washington State Area Conference (AOWSAC) of the NAACP.
Call to action:
Become actively involved. Jo Ann asks for your help, recruiting those with talents, skills or sheer initiative to pitch in. (Current, imperative needs include a CPA & data systems support.) As folks make their willingness known, the Executive Committee will make appointments to a variety of standing committees.*
29 March 1956
The new leadership expects to “make the 101st year of this chapter a year to remember!” Pass our request along to any who’ve ever had past involvement in the NAACP: we’ll need those perspectives as we look back on the Chapter’s history. We strongly encourage those with law backgrounds to maintain the organization’s ‘legendary legacy for fighting legal battles to win social justice for all Americans.’
From its outset, membership in the nation’s oldest civil rights organization has been open to all races; all who are “in accordance with the principles and policies of the Association.”
Jo Ann has observed, “Over the last decade our chapter has fallen into disarray. Poor leadership, a lack of direction and an unwillingness to build coalitions has left us, locally, in need of an influx of new energy and purpose.”
There’s plenty of room under this tent.
General advocacy topics include “the promotion and protection of civil rights, securing a fair and equal criminal justice system, ensuring high quality educational opportunities for all Americans, a fair labor environment, and securing affordable adequate housing and health care for all Americans.” From Climate Justice, immigration reform, a living wage and campaign finance reform, to the New Jim Crow awareness growing in Portland, we think many of our friends will find ample means to advocate for their passions.
If you value strength in numbers; and highly organized, intentional collaboration; bring your talent, enthusiasm and energy to the inaugural meeting.
*Members in good standing may choose to serve among various Standing committees:
ACT-SO, Armed Services & Veteran Affairs, Communications, Press & Publicity, Community Coordination, Criminal Justice, Economic Development, Education, Finance, Freedom Fund, Health, Housing, Labor & Industry, Legal Redress, Membership & Life Membership, Political Action, Prison Branch, Religious Affairs, Young Adult, Youth Works, and Women In NAACP (WIN).
With more than a half-million members and supporters throughout the world, we hope you’ll become a local ‘premier advocate’ for civil rights in your community. The work is important.
Assess this list of demands for reform. We owe it to those bringing heat to police accountability, to offer up targets that are difficult to articulate in street-level demands for change.
Our testimony in Portland City Council last week sought to establish that body-worn cameras on police – directed at The People and disconnected from functioning accountability mechanisms – are surveillance devices, and not to be seen as remedy for misconduct. We note that colorofchange.org did not include a previous call for adopting bwc in this well-drafted list of demands informing a petition of the nation’s Chief Executive and his Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security.
Consider these points:
“I urge you to take definitive and immediate action, including but not limited to the following reforms:
- A fully-resourced and rigorous civil rights and criminal investigation by the DOJ into discriminatory policing, excessive force, and death or injury by police in every state in the country;
- A comprehensive, streamlined, public national-level database of police shootings, excessive force, killings, misconduct complaints, traffic and pedestrian stops, and arrests, broken down by race and other demographic data, with key privacy protections, the exclusion of personally identifying factors and information, and deportation immunity for civilians.
- Mandating of Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) in every state and inter-state coordination between all POSTs.
- An executive order that creates a strong and enforceable prohibition on police brutality and discriminatory policing based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status.
- Increased funding for the DOJ’s Office for Civil Rights to ensure additional, accessible state-level responders for police and other civil rights violations. Divestment of federal anti-drug grants and federal funding for police departments that demonstrate abuse of power and massive reinvestment in community controlled and based policing practices.
- Support for the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA)
- Streamlined national use of force matrix and mandating that state and local police have clear and streamlined matrices.
- Strict limits on asset seizure without due process and the transfer of any military equipment to local law enforcement under the 1033 program, guidelines that ensure that the equipment is not used on non-violent protesters, and an end to the requirement that such military weaponry is used within a year.”
Given that the City of Portland was investigated by the DoJ Civil Rights Division – and found to police us illegally – local authority has been in the spotlight. It’s been tough to broaden awareness to reinforcing roles played by Multnomah County and the State of Oregon. We applaud a state-by-state Federal analysis of civil rights violations. “It’s a Portland problem,” was a position taken by law enforcement lobbyists, to deflect our legislation for changes to state law.
We’ve already identified that the City/DoJ plea deal failed to implement a use-of-force matrix. The Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform informs us, “The Agreement is not explicit enough in calling for officers to use the least force necessary, doesn’t allow for a “matrix” tying maximum force levels to certain levels of resistance, doesn’t prohibit the use of weapons, animals or vehicles as intimidation when no threat exists, and doesn’t prohibit the use of force on downed/injured subjects.”
Researchers have been compiling data on the 1033 program, trying to establish what military weaponry Federal authorities have been giving our local police.
We take it as astute, the CoC demand to call attention to Federal anti-drug grants. We think it is high time the Executive ends the nation’s unilateral War on Drugs. Call it ‘de-escalation’ in national tensions. It was a race-based initiative that resulted in incarceration rates incomprehensible for an open society such as America purports to be.
From PPB PowerPoint Presentation, dated 7/17/2013.
We know anti-’gang’ is merely a pretext for anti-Black policies. As Oregon embraces the legalization of marijuana, some thought should be given to the debilitating effects of drug laws in general.
“Massive investment” in community-controlled and community-based policing practices has always been foremost at the core of our solution set.
American wisdom was evident at the conclusion of WWII … when the nation engaged in a Marshall Plan … to rebuild European economies.
Instead of massive police spending, in an era of declining calls for service and failure to implement span-of-control improvements in an oversized force, we think it is time to build an economy for the victims of racist policing.
Given our DoJ Settlement creates a nexus, bringing County Health into more formidable police roles already extant in anti-gang enforcement, we think these funding strategies must be reviewed as well.
We contend, from a health analysis standpoint, the victim class has experienced trauma that will continue to plague people of color for a generation to come.
What’s to Say?
Roger David Hardesty, through his own historical research, knows well that a violent Civil War accomplished a great deal. He can’t imagine how much suffering would have gone on, had not the nation outright battled itself over slavery.
We can also inform readers that working within Portland’s system has been a decades-long farce. One high-level achievement, following years of organizing and intense public involvement, was the City’s adoption of a Police Plan to Address Racial Profiling in 2009. Then-Mayor Adams fired then-Chief Sizer – for political transgressions – and the plan was never implemented. No subsequent city council has engaged in a requisite annual review of the Plan.
Members of the Portland Police Association generally keep mum. The union’s position with city administrators is so secure, their aspirations are easily and repeatedly attained in back-room negotiations, far from policy deliberations television pundits assume you’ll influence. In this post we contend that no one in the City has been in charge of negotiating for reforms the public persistently demands.
We do have, in our history, examples of cops taking public positions. In 1981, ten police officers signaled white superiority and intimidation by tossing dead animals at a black-owned business. People of conscience took to Portland’s streets (right), following the ‘Possum Incident.’ Two of the ten involved were held to account. They were fired. As for systemic change, an arbitration process – which remains sacrosanct in the City’s current contract with the police union – returned officers Craig Ward and Jim Galloway to their jobs.
Portland police took a broadly unified, public stance as the racial profiling plan was to roll out. Wearing matching, police-blue ‘I Am Chris Humphreys’ t-shirts, they marched unopposed through Portland’s public spaces. In 2006, the arbitration process had overruled a 2-week suspension of Officer Chris Humphreys for his role in stomping unarmed James Chasse to death, and then lying to on-scene care providers.
Police marched in 2009 (below), after rising public discourse favored police discipline. Humphreys had fired a less-often-lethal weapon from close range at an unarmed, 12-year-old African American child. The PPA declared Humphreys was “devastated when the commissioner on Nov. 19, 2009, ordered he be removed from the street, with his gun and badge taken pending the investigation.” Mere investigation is an intrusion into police business, said the police union.
Without public involvement, the Chief cleared Humpheys in 2010, finding the shooter’s actions within a policy that remained unchanged. The City paid Humphreys to remain off duty (on disability leave) for one year following the first incident. He returned to paid leave from the 2009 assault until after he declared himself a candidate for Wheeler County Sheriff, some five months later. As with the current status of Officer Ron Frashour, paid to stay at home following his 2010 termination – and subsequent, arbitrated reinstatement – for the homicide of an unarmed man in the act of submission during a ‘welfare check,’ the consequences for being terminated in Portland can be quite favorable to the killer.
What do we say, to folks who contend that, only by working within the system will you bring the police accountability you seek?
We officer the example of Rev. Chuck Currie, a social justice leader invested in peace and spirituality. Perhaps roused by local intentions to join national protests against a lack of police accountability, he took note of last week’s plunge into the spotlight by nearly two dozen Oregon law enforcement officers.
Officer Richard Storm had used his position in his community – and a badge we gave him (right) - to visually inspire solidarity with another officer evading accountability. Storm posted an ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ meme to facebook. Chief Reese later described Storm’s actions as “inflammatory” and inappropriate, considering the officers expressed their opinions by using the bureau’s official badge.
Currie, credibly ensconced in academia, apparently reached out to Mayor Hales, in his role as Police Commissioner. The peace-seeking chaplain is close enough to power to be able to work within the system. Cmdr. Bob Day announced that the three officers (sic) who posted the Facebook images “would not be allowed to provide police coverage at any of the Ferguson-related demonstrations” that had been scheduled.
Currie tweeted out he was ‘confused,’ when Storm’s name and badge number appeared on papers ordering the release of our colleague, editor and reporter Hart Noecker, from police custody last week. Noecker, like other, credentialed reporters was rounded up when The People turned to our streets and highways to counter messaging relayed in police marches. ...
Confused. That’s an initial response mainstream folks take, when local authorities lie to them. Imagine how few in the 1981 photograph, above, have held faith that working within the system is effective. Authorities lie or break faith regularly, when it comes to law enforcement policy and officer conduct.
Those with long memories will recognize Officer Storm. Though redacted by name from DoJ Findings (pg. 17), Federal investigators reported him for severely beating a Spanish-speaking man in the head; for abusing the civil rights of a law-abiding citizen reported missing by a group home that was concerned about his medical condition.
Storm might have become a ‘poster child,’ identified as he was (to authorities) as helping form a pattern of illegal police practices.With a responsive community liaison (Hales has plucked a police officer, mid career for that role. He demands those working within the system approach via Officer Wesson-Mitchell.), a diligent police commissioner, might have shown heightened concern that Storm was fomenting divisiveness. Storm’s historical inability to respect civil rights might have assured actual leadership that he was unfit for the duty of protecting free speech and freedom of the press.
But that’s not how our system works.
We can report that public involvement leads to a greater understanding of all that stands in the way of accountability. This quality of involvement has done little, however, to garner effective oversight. Citizen participation has for generations failed to bring police discipline, training and psychological evaluation into a sphere of public influence.
Part of our communal, civic responsibility now appears as tracking the names of errant officers. (Nosing as far under the hood as we have, we can tell you the City has failed to adopt performance evaluations that would weed out repeat offenders like Humphreys and Storm. It’s too risky, we presume: defense counsel might be able to inform juries of historically poor conduct; District Attorneys might struggle some to portray them as Boy Scouts when The People consider indictment.)
A 24 November facebook post (left) began identifying Officer Storm’s like-minded community. The following day the Willamette Week confirmed their employment status with the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.
Particularly troubling, to those who seek to work within the system, should be the observation that Storm and his ilk have at least one companion serving in the State’s Department of Justice.
- Meredith Hopper, Portland Police Bureau
- Stephen Gandy, PPB ‘ “Love it.”
- Tyson Estes, PPB
- Rob Brown, PPB
- Betsy Hornstein, PPB
- Erin Anderson, PPB
- Lisa Clayton, PPB
- Chris Barker, PPB
- Scherise Hobbs, PPB
- Jack Hornstein, PPB
- Thomas Brennan, PPB
- Michael Currier, PPB
- Jen Hertzler, PPB
- Lacey Sparling, PPB
- Thomas Larson, PPB
- Zack Delong, PPB
- David Rasmussen, PPB
- Sara Rilling Clark, PPB
- Josh Uwah Ladd, PPB
- Darin Ladick, Oregon State Police
- Micah Persons, Oregon Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Division
- Brian Dunkin, Marion County Sheriff’s Office
- Scott Fink, Oregon Department of Corrections Transport Unit
As of this writing, authorities plan on passing Storm, Officers Rob Blanck and Kris Barber (all changed their facebook profiles to use the badge) through a self-exoneration process run out of PPB’s Professional Standards Division. No one will review Cmdr. Day’s false assurances, that he’d not offer lucrative overtime pay to the three singled out. Only the court of public opinion will hold our white city council accountable for breach of truthfulness, and persistently maintaining what the DoJ has termed a ‘self-defeating accountability system’ (Findings, pg. 27).
The system folks are encouraged to work within does not identify problem officers, it refutess policy driven by the will of The People: it always leads to police self-exoneration.
Un-permitted marches through town can hardly be depicted as violence. We hope that deviating from a long and futile course will bring new leadership and tactics. We can tell you, the City continues with plans to deny justice, and to deny effective civilian participation. A new generation now takes their opportunity to figure out what quality of participation is likely to reform a corrupt City/Police culture. It may not be led by peace-loving clergy.
The whole article (included related links, pictures and documentation can be found at Consult Hardesty.
“The DoJ Settlement is about mental health issues. It’s not about race.”
- Commissioner Amanda Fritz, City Council, 14 May 2014
‘DoJ’ of course refers to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. Portland City Commissioner Fritz argues that justice can be compartmentalized. When cops search a person’s home for an individual, they are quick to seize on evidence of other crimes. It’s an expansive application of justice, based on what is discovered. Fritz’ conceptualization of justice is confining. It’s morally lazy and intellectually incurious: the outer limits of her concerns are formed precisely … by whatever civil rights she’s been caught violating.
Racial oppression continues in Portland because those in power lack humane, internalized and comprehensive value structures. In this instance, City Council and the DoJ parse phrasing to partition police reform and intellectually divide a broad victim population. Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Officers David McCarthy and Matthew Huspek emulate the same inability or unwillingness to access humane ethics. (See natural law.)
McCarthy and Huspek took it upon themselves to arrest, handcuff and remove from her home a 9-year-old African American child. The little girl was separated from her mother, taken downtown, booked, photographed and fingerprinted, while dressed only in a swimsuit and towel. (See Washington Post umbrage here.) The men did not possess within themselves an ability to discern the propriety of their own conduct: they had been granted permission by civil authority to wield power in this manner … and so they claimed it.
McCarthy and Huspek’s conduct is revealing, in light of a proposed plea deal in the pending case, USA v. City of Portland. A year and a half after collaborating with the DoJ to avoid trial and simultaneously give police enhanced roles in assessing mental health needs, the City leaves unchecked psychologically damaging police practices. McCarthy and Huspek likely remain oblivious to the trauma they induced in a formative mind. These officers emerge from a police culture that has never been held accountable for racial justice by political leadership. When Fritz telegraphs she’ll look the other way on race-based oppression, people of color rightly tense up … deeply concerned for the children’s well being.
For local authorities, ‘justice’ is often the exercise of prerogative according to some external gauge. Their reasoning often considers the lengths to which they can exercise power without experiencing negative consequences. The culture of both Portland City Council and their Police Bureau suffer from the absence of an internalized, moral backbone. Neither can discern what is morally ‘right’ from what is legally permissible. When higher authority (in the form of the DoJ) narrows the field of legally permissible use of force, City Commissioners fence people of color away from remedy. Racial stigmatization and oppression will continue unabated.
It matters little that Fritz was not telling the truth.
The City’s proposed Agreement does mention race in three places. Two are admittedly insignificant phasing civil rights bureaucrats insert pro forma, but Item 148 in the Agreement mandates PPB document racial data when we become “subjects of police encounters.” It does matter that City Council is circling wagons, to ensure a proposed Community Oversight Advisory Board will confine itself to mental health issues for the next five years. $5,000,000 in new money will go to cops; and city administrators expect us to continue ignoring bias-based policing.
Here is the rest of the story:
Racial Justice: Going by the Numbers:
When tackling racial justice, we find statistics the province of policy makers. We realize emotionally grappling with the psychological damage that stop & frisk engenders would more likely lead to policy revisions and reduce stressors leading to early-onset death among constituents of color. But until you’ve worked to permeate political insularity and overcome victim reluctance to testify in open hearings, you’ll not understand how difficult it is to reach decision-makers at an emotional level.
I had no idea that allowing the Portland Police Bureau to collect Stop Data would for so long indicate racial disparities. The numbers have remained consistent since data was first released a decade ago.
African Americans in Portland are twice as likely to be stopped by police. Once stopped, they are twice as likely to be searched. African Americans are half as likely to be found with weapons, contraband or outstanding warrants. They are then twice as likely to have legal consequences.
PPB tried fiddling with the numbers. In 2009 they contracted with Brian C. Renauer, Ph.D., and his Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute, in a failed attempt to apply anything but census data as benchmarks. Perpetually three years behind collection in their release, the latest PPB analysis (the 6 months’ raw data has not been divulged) shows racial disparities persist … despite Renauer’s creative reliance on ‘multiple analytic perspectives.’ (Last year, 2009 report co-author Emily Covelli was hired, full-time by PPB.)
We – who have been playing it since 2009 - are weary of the numbers game.
And so it was with some suspicion that we greeted an invitation to be surveyed by a heretofore unknown Multnomah County Comprehensive Gang Assessment (sic).
We realize, however, that publishing Roger David Hardesty‘s responses to the unknown, purportedly county agency, gives readers an opportunity to critique our positions. ...
Heres the rest of the Story
Join the Conversation! with Consult Hardesty: http://www.consulthardesty.com/uncategorized/going-by-numbers/
Ultimately, we believe it is The People's responsibility to protect their civil liberties. You can do your part by forwarding this job announcement to individuals and discussion groups likely to generate candidates suitable to reforming a deficient culture.
-Compliance Officer/Community Liaison-
Implementation of a Settlement Agreement between the US DoJ & City of Portland is primarily intended to protect the constitutional rights of all members of the community, from illegal use of force by police ... while continuously improving the safety and security of the people of Portland.
App deadline, 24 Feb. Posted 27 Jan. Contract likely to run through October 12, 2018.
If the link below doesn't link you in, contact Mayor Hales' office in Portland, Oregon: (503) 823-4120.
Consult Hardesty was an active participant at the ACLU NW Civil Liberties Conference panel on ‘Can We Have Police Accountability?’ a week or so ago. Some would say we were hecklers.
In the sanitary environs of Lewis & Clark Law School, we bristled at clinical discussions and a genteel atmosphere that did not challenge a panelist who outright lied about the frequency of exonerations occasioned by a flawed arbitration process. The will of Portland City Councils has, over successive administrations, been persistently thwarted whenever they’ve sought to discipline officers for illegal use of force.
Panelist Ron Louie, former Chief of the Hillsboro, Oregon police department, was one of two who spoke in terms of a required culture shift, in a bureau finally ascertained to be violating The People’s constitutional protections (here). Chief Louie suggested we read the latest issue of mindful magazine. The text is not available online, but the innovative police training it depicts is truly remarkable, and well worth the read.
Mindfulness-based Resiliency Training, as described in O’Hagan’s article, has potential to produce revolutionary results. Mired in fear, protecting both Training and the delivery of Psychological services from citizen input, Portland City Council is unlikely to even take note of these unorthodox approaches.
Although the sniper’s endorsement of ‘tactical breathing’ (what you and I might call ‘meditation’) was chilling, awareness and contemplative practices could humanize a culture mired in poor conduct. The article is billed as:
“… a story on a mindfulness program being offered to members of the Hillsboro Police Department in Oregon — the first of its kind. It’s designed to teach mindfulness techniques so that officers not only cope better with the myriad stresses of their jobs, but are better able to serve their communities, with greater awareness and empathy.”
To be fair, a Lewis & Clark faculty member warned Roger David Hardesty, prior to the ACLU panel’s address of a hypothetical on police accountability, “not to get your hopes up.” In a debrief following, with Bobbin Singh, ED of the Oregon Justice Resource Center, the event Co-Chair relayed this convocation was designed to deliver educational credits to lawyers. Civil liberties advocates experienced poorly-facilitated, point-of-view presentations … never intended to engender better outcomes. It’s not as if these wealthy men, oft-quoted, with access to power, didn’t already have a means of advocating for their constituencies. Absent from discussion were voices of the oppressed, however. We but glimpsed the potentially mortal consequences of failing to successfully negotiate a ‘stop ‘n frisk.’
It’s a pity that ACLU participants did not explore pathways to police accountability. Portland Mayor Hales’ office was represented by his Chief of Staff, although not his Police Liaison. A results-oriented approach might have led – if not to a pathway – at least to the stumbling blocks that prevent the broad application of justice, including cultural deficiencies in the Portland Police Bureau which hinder reform.
Consult Hardesty concurs with the widening understanding that any sincere desire to reform PPB can only begin with the replacement of Chief Michael Reese. This hierarchical organization must be led though transition by a ‘culture change agent’ whose pay incentives are tied to performance improvements. Hales has retained the role of Police Commissioner in his portfolio. This audience of learned, fortunate people represented serious political clout, organized and prepared to address the denial of civil liberties. The failure to close the loop, to press the Mayor to abandon his position as PC if he will not dismiss the Chief who ran the bureau during tragic civil rights violations, missed the ‘teachable moment.’
But it is important to note that police training, particularly when influenced by enlightened guidance from those who deliver psychological services to the boys in blue, also determines police culture. I urge you to find a copy of the October issue of mindful, and to read the cover story, Pause and Protect.
The imperative behind this post, however, is to get you to spend five minutes in someone else’s shoes. This video, takes you outside the law school classroom, far from hors d’œuvre. Without understanding police practices … at a visceral level … the mindful article remains a ‘puff piece,’ and while do-gooders walk away from cogent lectures with vague feelings that something is wrong, real people, in considerable numbers, experience trauma that privileged folks would never put up with.
Watch at least the first five minutes. Know that Portland Police operate in the same way, far beyond the clean white rooms of genteel, theoretical debate. Visit a world where economic opportunity has been staunchly denied to a minority. The victims are incredibly articulate, given that they likely arose from environments (Camden, NJ) where academic opportunities were dismal. Their conduct, in the face of oppression, is actually noble. Their experience informs our mission.
Our challenge here, as social justice advocates, is to encourage a readership to understand what it is like to be profiled and then rousted. We expect, if you ingest these harms at an emotional level, you will make more of an effort to bring justice.
Our task is to lift you over your complacency, to appreciate that this denial of liberty has gone on for generations. We know there is a broad, sustained, AND UNCHECKED mission by Portland police to act just as Philly cops have in this unedited document. We know that (plot spoiler) even if the filmmaker had been arrested; eloquent, well-dressed DAs will portray bullies as trained observers. We know city administrators and attorneys present police policy and procedures as if they are the guiding principles of what actually transpires in the streets. We know juries will hear of commendations these officers have received … presented by their peers … and that juries will not hear countering, civilian complaints. We know city leaders have not invested in the means to treasure the kind of record-keeping that would end misconduct, that they lack the political will to have allegations investigated by any who are not emotionally invested in leaving cops to police themselves.
What’s ironic is that advocating for these victims – now – is actually in the best interest of the dominant culture: as Powers that Be criminalize more and more conduct, lConsult Hardesty concurs with the widening understanding that any sincere desire to reform PPB can only begin with the replacement of Chief Michael Reese.aw enforcement will gradually come for more and more of ‘us,’ who today think this is how ‘others’ should be treated.
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