Press Release – immediate April 20, 2016
Mental Health Association of Portland
APPEAL BY MATTHEW KLUG DELAYED BY POLICE NO-SHOW
CRC Votes To Compel Testimony
Matthew Klug waited a year for justice – and will wait at least another month.
Both officers and commanders of the Portland Police Bureau – as directed by Commander Donna Henderson – failed to show up at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Citizen’s Review Committee, Portland’s appointed police oversight.
Matthew Klug was in attendance, as were a handful of peaceful neighbors and friends, and about twenty city employees. But no police.
UPDATED READ – After a No-Show, Police Watchdogs Are Forcing Cops to Appear – But That Doesn’t Mean They Have to Like It, The Portland Mercury, April 27, 2016
UPDATED READ – Police Don’t Show Up For Oversight Meeting; Frustrated Committee Votes To Legally Force Them To Show Up Next Time, The Portland Mercury, April 21, 2016
READ – Stunned: Matthew Klug and the ‘pattern and practice’ of police force – One man’s complaint against Portland police illustrates multiple system pitfalls, Street Roots, December 17, 2015
At the meeting March 30, 2016, a member of the committee was doused with water by a member of the public. In response, tonight’s meeting started with the reading of a set of new rules to enhance safety and mutual respect. City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero, the only elected official to attend, apologized to the Citizen’s Review Committee members for the stress and any perceived lack of security in the prior meeting.
Citizen’s Review Committee Chair Kristin Malone read a letter from Donna Henderson saying the Citizen’s Review Committee meetings were “corrosive and intimidating” and the Portland Police Bureau would no longer attend.
READ – Police chief, police union urge officers not to attend citizen review panel hearings, Oregonian April 2015
The Portland Police Bureau has a long history of refusing civilian oversight. Though the Bureau and politicians tout “community policing” and through the settlement of Department of Justice v. City of Portland exclaim better community relations, tonight’s failure-to-show undermined that effort. In their Findings Report on Portland’s police, the Department of Justice found our police have a pattern and practice of harming people with mental illness – including excessive use of Tasers.
Matthew Klug is a person in recovery from mental illness.
Audience members tonight were in agreement. The Portland Police Bureau was disrespectful of Matthew Klug and disrespectful of the members of the Citizen’s Review Committee.
Portland Police Bureau Chief Larry O’Dea and Police Commissioner Charlie Hales had a month to work out a plan with the members of the Citizen’s Review Committee so police officers, who typically attend meeting in uniform and armed, would feel safe. They failed to act.
Members of the Citizen’s Review Committee, advised on the law by a city attorney with the Independent Police Review, unanimously voted to compel the Portland Police Bureau to send officers and commanders to their next meeting, to be held May 4, to hear Matthew Klug’s case. This action is unprecedented in the history of the Citizen’s Review Committee.