Portland Police Contract Testimony

I’ve been feeling writer’s blocked with an essay called ‘A Cop Named Sue.’ Luckily I went to City Hall this morning and signed up to testify. Luckily again I didn’t come up before the lunch break and I had time to write the testimony below. Nothing better for breaking writers block than ‘you are going to speak at city hall in an hour: Go!’

My name is Joe Meyer and I object to the proposed police contract on the theory called, ‘civilian control of law enforcement.’

I have volunteered as a reporter at KBOO radio and as a research scientist with Portland Police Forensics. And I just speak for myself.

My objection to this contract is in a context where I see the whole world increasing ruled by force; with strange fruit dying all over American streets; and where white juries still find white killers innocent and innocent black kids, like Mohamed Mohamed, guilt.

I moved to Portland over 15 years ago and haven’t always had that nice ‘civilian control of police’ – and I don’t just mean the strip searches at the airport.

After Mayor Potter stepped back from the JTTF – because he would not have control or even information about what Portland Police officers did – the FBI orchestrated its famous ‘Real Christmas Tree and Fake Bomb Show’.

And the next day Commissioner Saltzman proposed that we rejoin the JTTF and we did.

The scary thing about that tree lighting ceremony was that the Police chief and select officers were part of the sting operation and yet Mayor Adams didn’t know anything about it.

I have also seen Portland Police officers Humphry and Nice, the brutal murderers of James Chasse, be reinstated with back pay because an arbitrator said so.

Probably many of use have seen Jason Renaud’s Alien Boy and would agree that Chasse didn’t have to die.

And that a shocking combination of callousness and brutality by the police caused his death.

In that context Police union president Daryl Turner is quoted by the Oregonian as saying:
“Sergeant Nice and Officer Humphreys were trained to police. They are not paramedics or nurses”

And likewise was Ron Frashour reinstated arbitratorly after he shot in the back and killed an an unarmed Black man named Arron Campbell. Say his name.

None of this is adding up to a warm, ‘civilian control of police’ feeling for me.

I covered the Mohamed Mohamed Federal Trial here in Portland and was surprised and saddened at the way law enforcement skillfully prevaricated and outright lied on the witness stand.

And they got their all white conviction.

I also covered the disorderly conduct trial of Teressa Raiford and was alarmed at how similarly Portland Police prevaricated and outright lied on the witness stand.

That is not the kind of police training I would like to see with my tax dollar.

By the end of the trial I agreed with the defense attorney’s claim in his opening statement: Portland Police Sargent Jacob Clark and Portland Police Officer Susan Billard colluded to deprived Teressa Raiford of her civil liberties.

Let’s save some money and stop doing that.

Regarding the issue before us today, I recommend along with Portland Cop Watch, Don’t Shoot Portland, the ACLU and many fine citizens, that you table this contract for the new city council. And to use the time to have a real discussion of what civilian control of police looks like.

Transcendental PE@Reed

It was the beginning of the second week so I asked one of the students to pick the attendance question. S, who is already a strong player, said ‘Favorite breakfast cereal’. I started with, ‘O equals K….. my name is Joe and I like Honey Crunches of Oats’. And I do like Honey Crunches of Oats and all that good-for-you-looking sweetness. Anyway, it comes around to S-who-is-a-strong-player and they say,’My name is S, and I like coffee and a bagel’. Shoot, I would have said ‘coffee and a bagel’ in a second.

After attendance I asked if there were any philosophy majors in the class. When no one raised their hand, I reminded them about K Popper’s theory of knowledge. Popper considered human knowledge as a separate organ shaped by conjecture and refutation. Popper calls induction an illusion and deprecates conjecture to guess, leaving refutation to do the work. His theory is attractive not in the least because of its fine homologonimity with Darwinian evolution. In any case, this is just how you learn ping-pong: Every shot a conjecture; The net the benignly-indifferent critic. Within K Popper’s theory of knowledge then, the role of the instructor, c’est moi, is to provide realms in which students can fruitiously err. Part of that realm is called: Forehand equals forearm to forehead, like this!

Pair Up!

Couple of simple ones and then try to step back from the table. That’s the ticket, couple of good ones there. Don’t forget your giant fish bowl: don’t break through the middle, polish the whole thing, like this! Good, good, good. Put the lid on it! Like this! Try and see how slowly you can hit it: large momentum plus small velocity equals good shot. Nice! Get your luggage. Like this! Good equals shot! Don’t forget: they bounce space craft off Jupiter not Mercury!

We rotated partners every five minutes counter clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, skipped coaches, and continued our practice in a like manner until special-treat game time at 6. It was easy to split the class into two teams since there were 8 of them and still at table. I never liked that thing about lining them up against the wall and having two captains pick them to the last drop.

Okay! This game is called ‘Round About’. You have 4 players to a team and you start with a player at each of the 4 sides of the table. Like bridge, we will call these North, South, East and West. Play starts with South serving to North and continues with North hitting to West who has taken South’s place, West hitting to East who has replaced North, East to North, North to West who hits to South, starting the cycle again. The goal is to get consecutive hits. To start the game I will say the word ‘Start’. Start.

Luckily, my assistant coach asked me to maybe pick up a couple of balls and they got started rotating the table while keeping the ball in play in no time. After ten minutes I rang the ding-ding-ding bell and found out that the score was 14-7 with just 4 minutes left. Luckily, said I, the second round is double scoring. Each team selects a Vogel-im-Baum and the other three rotate the table. To start the game, I name a category and each time the ball is struck the Vogel-im-Baum has to say something in that category. If Vogel-im-Baum can’t think of anything or repeats then that is the same as a miss: I equals E start equals over. Ready: ‘Animals of North America!’

My assistant coach admitted that they didn’t really remember this version themselves. And I suggested, ‘Bear’, ‘Deer’, ‘Salmon’. After some further elucidation we were ready to try again. Ready: ‘transcendental numbers’.

Luckily, the bell rang, with a: Ding-ding-ding thanks for a fun class, if you have a few minutes please help put the equipment away. And I think I saw D-who-knows-pi-to-200-digits smile.