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.