Testimony against the settlement agreement in DOJ v City of Portland, presented the US Judge Michael Simon was strong on February 18.
Both parties – the US Department of Justice and the City of Portland – have agreed to the 100+ items in the agreement. Judge Simon sought community on the agreement and invited friends of the court to present additional testimony and participate in secret meetings. Two organizations qualified for the status of “amici” or friends of the court, the Portland Police Association – the union for Portland Police Bureau officers, and the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform. The AMA Coalition received “enhanced” status with slightly limited powers.
The Mental Health Association of Portland is a Coalition member, but not privy to the AMA Coalition Steering Committee discussions and not invited to the secret meetings with the parties to the case. A full list of those participants is listed here. No person in those secret discussions has personal or professional experience representing the interests of persons with mental illness.
To get into the secret meetings – which appear to have had no affect on the agreement – Simon made both the parties and the amici promise to keep the content of the meetings secret, and to agree to support the agreement.
Not being a member of the AMA Steering Committee has multiple benefits. Our testimony in opposition to the agreement has been online for a couple of weeks. We’ve also posted testimony in opposition to the agreement from NAMI Multnomah County, and from Kristi Jamison. And though the Portland Police Association gave no testimony during Simon’s “fairness hearing,” their president Daryl Turner did some public griping afterward and we posted something about that.
The DOJ asked Chris Bouneff of NAMI Oregon to testify on behalf of the agreement. The state and county, he said, “are not at the table and there’s nothing to compel them to be at the table to increase the type of services necessary. That element will be missing in this agreement.”
Jo Ann and David Hardesty of Consult Hardesty have collected much of the testimony and shared it on their web site.
Appealing Findings on Deadly Force Cases
- Taser Use and the DOJ Agreement
- Accountability– Independent Police Review
- Accountability– Citizen Review Committee
- Accountability– Police Review Board
- Use of Force and the DOJ Agreement
- Mental Health Provisions
- Training and the DOJ Agreement
- Tracking Police Contacts / Demographic Information
- Implementation and Transparency
- Oversight of the Agreement / ConclusionAdditional Materials /Exhibits
Tom Steenson, civil rights attorney in Campbell v. City of Portland, Chasse v. City of Portland, and Gwerder v. Besner.