New mental health alliance wants to participate in city’s settlement on police reforms

From The Oregonian, September 11, 2018

A new alliance of mental health advocacy groups wants a seat at the table in the court’s review of the city of Portland’s four-year old settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice stemming from police use of excessive force against people with mental illness.

The alliance was formed in July and is made up of Disability Rights Oregon, the Mental Health Association of Portland and Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. The groups cite their experience and expertise as direct service providers to people with mental illness.

“There is no focused voice from the mental health community currently in these proceedings, and without this community’s participation… the current arrangement will continue to victimize Portlanders with mental illness when they interact with the Portland Police Bureau,” wrote Juan C. Chavez, a lawyer with the Oregon Justice Resource Center’s civil rights project, on behalf of the alliance in a petition to U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon.

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