On July 24, 2013, the Portland Police Bureau added a “DOJ” link to its website, to house information related to the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation of the Portland police and its subsequent lawsuit against the City of Portland. In order to preserve the material posted there, even if a document or the whole site is at any point removed, this page contains copies of everything there except the calendar listings.
Need to catch up? See our DOJ Crash Course reading list at the bottom of this post.
The following text and materials are the same ones available on PPB’s site as of 7/26/13, unless another date is specified.
Department of Justice Materials and Updates
The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) recognizes the shifting nature of police work and of what it means to be a first responder. Operating in an environment of diminished resources for community mental health, housing, and other safety net resources, Police officers are responding to twice the number of suicide calls than 10 years ago and an ever increasing number of calls for service related to individuals in a mental health crisis. PPB recognizes that officers need to be fully prepared to meet the demands of policing in Portland today.
The Portland Police Bureau looks forward to continued engagement with all parties involved in the proposed DOJ settlement agreement. Information currently found on this link includes: meeting times and locations of various advisory councils and committees; an action item matrix associated with the DOJ proposed settlement; information regarding the Bureau’s Behavioral Health Unit; and DOJ-related documents, including information on training, policies and internal affairs investigations.
The Portland Police Bureau will use this website as a clearinghouse of information related to the Department of Justice. Additional information, including items related to the proposed Community Outreach Advisory Board (COAB) will be added once the settlement agreement is adopted.
Although approved by the City Council in November, 2012, the settlement agreement still awaits approval by a Federal Court. The delay in the approval process revolves around concerns that the Portland Police Association (PPA) and the Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) have about the settlement agreement itself. However, PPB has interpreted the vote in November as direction from City Council and our community to embrace the reforms outlined in the Council-approved agreement.
As a first step, Chief Michael Reese appointed Captain Pat Walsh as PPB’s Compliance Coordinator to manage the implementation of the DOJ Agreement. In early 2013, the “Compliance Team” organized the settlement agreement, which can be viewed online here [on MHAP, here] into 80 individual action items, which have been assigned out to managers within the Police Bureau. The Training Division, Behavioral Health Unit, Professional Standards Division, Strategic Services Division, and Chief’s Office are managing the implementation of different sets of action items. These action items are detailed in a living spreadsheet that is constantly updated as implementation progresses.
While the Bureau recognizes these action items will not be 100% complete until approved by oversight bodies, including City Council, community oversight boards, and the DOJ itself, PPB has implemented over 50% (41 of 80) of the action items stemming from this agreement. By implementing an action item, PPB has determined it has fulfilled the terms of that agreement provision to the best of the bureau’s ability and is awaiting approval from the Compliance Officer Community Liaison, to be hired by Portland City Council. Implementation sometimes includes producing or revising bureau documents like a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or a new Bureau Directive. On the ground impacts of these new policies will be measured through use of force trends, reports on interactions with the mentally ill, measures of public trust, and the impact of a new Community Engagement and Outreach Plan, among other things.
Particularly impactful highlights from this first stage of implementation include:
- New Use of Force and Taser Policies
- In Service training for all PPB sworn personnel that incorporates new force policies and other changes outlined by the agreement
- The creation of the Behavioral Health Unit and its advisory board, co chaired by Shannon Pullen of NAMI Multnomah
- New time limits and expectations related to internal affairs investigations
- New use-of-force data tracking and analysis
- New checks and balances within the bureau with the establishment of the Inspector position in the Professional Services Division
PPB is committed to continuous improvement through the implementation of the additional 41 action items stemming from the settlement agreement with the DOJ as well as continual response to community and City Council concerns and ideas. Major implementation items on the horizon include changes to how PPB evaluates the impact of training on its sworn personnel, new efficiencies in administrative review processes, and the creation of oversight bodies to review our progress.
Force Data Summaries
Monthly and Quarterly Reports on Bureau Use of Force
Force Data Summary Report, April 2013 (PDF, 1.2MB)
Professional Standards Division Documents
Timelines for IA Investigations
Inspector- Professional Standards Unit S O P#5 (PDF, 12KB)
2013 In-Service Special Order (PDF, 370KB)
Behavioral Health Unit
The BHU is located within Central Precinct and encompasses and oversees the four tiers of police response to individuals with mental illness or in crisis:
- The core competency crisis intervention training for all officers;
- Enhanced crisis intervention training for a group of officers who volunteer to respond to most crisis calls;
- The proactive Mobile Crisis Unit (MCU); and
- The Service Coordination Team.
The BHU has a designated Captain, Lieutenant and Sergeant who oversee the entire program, including Crisis Intervention Training, Mobile Crisis Unit, Service Coordination Team (SCT)
BHU Organizational Chart (PDF, 1.15MB)
Crisis Intervention Training
All Portland Police Bureau officers have received crisis intervention training throughout their careers, and new recruits will continue to do so.
In addition, the Bureau has 50 officers from a variety of patrol assignments who will act as Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team officers. These Officers will be the first responders dispatched by 9-1-1 to calls that are determined to be related to an individual with mental illness. In May, the officers will receive additional training in: the indicators of mental illness; crisis communication skills; interaction with consumers and family members; and education on community resources. The training will include scenarios applying patrol tactics to persons in behavior crisis.
Mobile Crisis Unit
The Mobile Crisis Unit pairs an officer and a licensed Mental Health Professional from Project Respond. The Portland Police Bureau current has three MCU cars. The officers and Project Respond professional work proactively with individuals who have multiple contacts with police to attempt to connect them with appropriate services in advance of a mental health crisis.
WATCH – “Officer Bret Burton and the MCU” (This KGW News story, filmed on the day “Alien Boy” premiered, features Bret Burton, one of the officers involved in the brutal death of James Chasse — the real-life Alien Boy who inspired Brian Lindstrom’s film. In either terrible irony or a moral reversal worthy of St. Augustine, Burton now serves on the PPB’s Mobile Crisis Unit, dedicating his time to seek out and help persons with mental illness – like Chasse. – Eds.)
(KGW’s film was shared publicly by PPB on Facebook.)
Service Coordination Team (SCT)
The Service Coordination Team (SCT) is a program that offers treatment to the City’s most frequent drug and property crime offenders to address their drug and alcohol addictions, mental health issues and criminality. This program has successfully graduated 102 former drug addicts from its treatment program, reducing recidivism among program graduates by 91%.
The Portland Police Bureau is committed to continuously improving its response to its delivery of service to Portland’s most vulnerable communities.
DOJ Referenced Cases
Note: The PPB’s term, “Referenced cases” are actually those the DOJ pointed out in its report because they were egregious examples of the excessive, unnecessary use of force investigators identified as a pattern or practice of violence, by PPB officers, against persons with mental illness.
All these acts were committed by police officers who were presumably not suspended from marionette strings. The officers caused their own actions; they are responsible for those actions.
Despite what Chief Mike Reese says, it is not “processes and systems” at fault.
It was not processes and systems that “resorted to repeated closed-fist punches and repeated shocking of a subject who was to be placed on a mental health hold.” It wasn’t processes and systems that “repeatedly Tasered an unarmed, naked subject” whom officers thought had a mental illness (it was later discovered he was in a diabetic crisis). And it certainly wasn’t any process or system that “punched an unarmed subject at least seven times in the face” while on a call to check the person’s safety and welfare.
–Eds. (Cites: DOJ Letter of Findings pp. 2-3)
List of DOJ-Referenced Cases – Click to Jump to a Case
On Sunday May 15, 2011, at about 9:48 a.m. an a Portland Police officer assigned to East Precinct responded to 73rd and Southeast Yamhill on a man standing in the rain for over an hour.
Arriving, the officer saw the man standing in the rain next to a stop sign. The officer tried talking to the man but he was mostly unresponsive but did say something in Spanish. The officer told the man “Uno Memento” and he walked back to his car to request the help of a Spanish-speaking officer.
When the officer went back to car and the man followed him and the officer tried to get him to wait, but the man put his hand up mimicking the officer. The officer continued to step back. The officer said he saw the man’s forehead and jaw tense up and he thought the man was either going to swing at him or run away.
The officer said the man tightening his arms and fists and kicked at him. The officer then took the man to the ground and the man resisted and he punched the man 7-10 time times to get the man to stop fighting him. The man stopped resisting and the officer handcuffed the man.
Once the man was in custody the officer called for medical personnel to check the man for injuries and he learned that the man was the subject of a missing report. Later, the officer learned the man had a mental illness.
There was a community member who was the original caller to 911 who witnessed the entire encounter and he said he believed the officer acted appropriately.
On Thursday, May 13, 2010, at 11:45 p.m., officers responded to Northwest 2nd Avenue and Northwest Everett Street after a caller to 911 requested police check on a man individual spitting on passing vehicles and acting strangely. Three more citizens contacted the officer about the subject of the 911 call just prior to the officer locating the man on Northwest Everett Street. The first arriving officer immediately asked his cover officers for a faster response.When the officer contacted the man, he immediately put his fists up to a fighting stance, approximately six inches from the officer’s face. The officer pushed the man’s hands away and told him to back up. The man refused to back away from the officer. The officer attempted to use a burst of pepper spray, but due to the windy conditions the pepper spray did not affect the subject. The man backed up, but kept his fighting stance. Eventually, the man subject walked backward into traffic on Northwest 3rd Avenue. He continued to focus on the officer with clenched fists and bounced on his feet like he was boxing.
The officer then pointed his Taser at the man and told him to sit on the sidewalk or he would be Tased. As the cover officers arrived, the first officer warned them he was going to Taser the man. The Taser can be very helpful to cover officers as they are able to quickly take a subject into custody without fighting. In this instance, however, the man spun around to the ground on his back and pulled his arms and legs up into himself. The officer used his Taser again as he told the man to put his arms out in order to be handcuffed.
The man refused and continued to keep his arms close to his chest while keeping his feet up to kick at the officers. The officers were concerned that the man was continuing to resist them as they were now in the middle of Northwest 3rd Avenue in the path of vehicle traffic. The officer used a third Taser cycle. The man extended his arms and he was taken into custody at that time. The officers were able to prevent any injury to the subject or themselves because the Taser afforded the officers enough time to get the subject handcuffed before the electronic cycle ended.
Medical personnel initially responded to the scene to remove the Taser probes from the man. During this entire encounter, the man was mumbling and chanting incoherently. Officers requested the medical personnel also evaluate the man as they were unsure if he was affected by drugs or another condition that would require him to be transported by an ambulance. At the conclusion of the medical evaluation, the officers recognized the man needed a mental health evaluation and transported him to Good Samaritan Hospital in lieu of the Multnomah County Detention Center for the Disorderly Conduct charge.
On Sunday December 26, 2010, at 9:54 p.m. two officers went with members of Project Respond (Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare) to an apartment complex on Northwest Broadway so the mental health care workers could evaluate a male subject. The Project Respond employees were familiar with the subject and told the officers he was known to light things on fire in the past.When the officers reached the hallway to the subject’s room, they could see burnt paper on the floor and items scattered around the area in front of the open door to his room. The officers saw the subject in his room and asked him to come outside his room which he did. The subject also allowed the officers to check his pockets for sharp objects and followed their direction and seated himself in the hallway.During this interaction with the police and Project Respond employees, the subject continued to say things that did not make sense. He talked about arson and being an “Indian.” He made odd grunting noises, yelling and becoming defiant. He called one of the Project Respond workers a “white bitch.”
The Project Respond employees determined that the subject should be taken to the hospital for further evaluation on a mental health hold. As the officers took a hold of the subject’s arms and stood him up to be handcuffed, he began to tense up. He tried to pull his arms out of the officer’s grasp and fought against the officers’ efforts to get his hands behind his back to be handcuffed.
The officers attempted to take the subject to the floor again in hopes they would have an easier time getting control of his arms. The subject fought against the officers’ efforts and flipped his head down and rolled forward away from the officers. The subject ended up with his feet kicking near the officer’s face. The officers were able to roll the subject back onto his stomach to continue their attempt to control his arms. The subject then pulled his arms underneath his body to prevent the officers from getting to his hands.
One officer drew his Taser and applied the Taser to the subject’s back to cause him to release his hands from under his body. The subject stopped briefly, but started to twist his body and pull away from the officers again. The officer warned the subject several times that he would be Tasered and did Taser him additional cycles. After each cycle, the officer stopped the Taser, and re-attempted to get a hold of the subject’s hands. The subject continued to resist the officers’ attempts to control his hands. After realizing the Taser was not having enough of an effect to cause the subject to release his hands, the officer used a closed fist and hit the subject in the right and left rib cage area. These strikes were also not effective. The officers struggled with the subject for two minutes until they were finally able to wrestle his arms out and get him handcuffed.
Both Project Respond employees witnessed the struggle between the officers and subject. They documented what they saw on their Hospital Hold form for the subject stating:
(subject) strongly resisted being frisked and being handcuffed- punching, kicking, fighting. Police had to tase him. (He is) unable to understand he being evicted-thinks he is in the witness protection program.
After the officers transported the subject to the hospital, the subject had to be placed in a four point restraint system by hospital security. The subject had minor bruising and abrasions and the officer had injury and pain to his hand as a result of the struggles.
Associated Files for Case #10-105736:
Reports (PDF, 1.7MB)
On Sunday, August 15, 2010, at 1:53 a.m., three officers responded to an apartment complex on Southwest 13th Avenue after an apartment complex employee heard an occupant calling for help from one of the apartments. Officers approached the apartment door and heard faint sounds coming from inside. The officers knocked on the door several times and announced their presence. The subject finally answered, but the officers could not understand him. The officers could hear the subject groaning and were worried that he was in need of medical assistance. They opened the door with a complex master key as they announced again they were the Portland Police.Once inside the apartment, the officers found an adult man lying on the floor naked. As they started to ask the man what was wrong, he jumped up, clenched his fists and screamed at the officers. One of the officers again stated they were the Portland Police and they were there to help him. As one officer was making this statement, the subject charged at the officers. As one of the officers was backing away from the charging man, he was able to Taser the man. The man fell to the floor, but did not follow the officers’ directions. At the end of the Taser cycle, the subject became combative, aggressively kicking at the officers and refusing to follow their directions. The apartment was a very small space and the officers were not able to get the subject handcuffed as he fought against their efforts to control his hands and kicking legs. The officers did apply the Taser again and were eventually able to handcuff the man.After the man was handcuffed the officers were able to evaluate him and realized he was dazed and confused. They saw that he was breathing hard and had a glazed look in his eyes. An officer asked the man if he had any medical conditions. The man was able to tell him he was a diabetic. The officers then requested an immediate medical response to their location.
After medical personnel provided treatment for low blood sugar, the man was transported to the hospital for further evaluation. The subject did not have any injury from the Taser. Being able to quickly get the man handcuffed allowed the officers to discover the cause of his aggression, which turned out to be a medical condition. A prolonged physical fight with the subject could have caused injury to him and delayed the medical treatment he needed.
On Thursday May 17, 2011, at 4:59 p.m., officers responded to a residence in the 1900 block of Southeast 134th Drive to conduct a welfare check of a 69-year-old woman. This call was in response to Multnomah County Adult Protective Services (APS) receiving a call from the woman’s doctor who told APS that the woman called asking what to do after her son hit her in the head. APS told officers that the son has a history of assaulting his mother.
Officers arrived at the residence and talked to the victim, who had blood on her head, neck and shirt. She told officers that her 42-year-old son hit her in the head, put a knife to her throat and threw her down onto the ground. The victim told officers that her son told her, “I can kill you now,” as he held a knife to her throat.
Officers learned that the suspect was not at the residence any longer but later in the evening, at 10:43 p.m., they received information that the suspect returned to the residence and that the victim was on her way home from the hospital. Officers learned from the victim that the suspect was in his bedroom and he kept a sword in his bedroom.
Officers opened the door to the house with the victim’s consent and called several times for the suspect to come outside. Hearing no response from the suspect, officers began to clear the house and determined that the last place the suspect could be was in his bedroom.
Officers opened the bedroom door and saw the suspect lying on the bed. Officers told him several times to stand up and put his hands on his head but the suspect refused and said he was sleeping. Officers noted that the suspect’s hands were down at his sides in the bed.
Officers gave the suspect verbal warnings about the possible use of a less lethal beanbag and the suspect stood up rapidly and said something to the effect of, “Fine, just (expletive) shoot me.” The suspect began arguing with officers and slowly walking toward them but failing to put his hands on his head.
One officer, concerned that the suspect was closing the distance between himself and officers in a confined space with the threat of a sword being in the room, fired a single shot from a beanbag shotgun, striking the suspect in the leg, with little effect. Another officer instructed the suspect to turn around and place his hands on top of his head. The suspect turned around, but initially did not put his hands on his head. After being warned about less lethal again, the suspect put his hands on his head but refused to interlock his fingers. Concerned the suspect was pull free and physically fight with officers, the officer Tased the suspect one time in the back. The Taser was effective and the suspect was taken into custody.
Paramedics responded to remove the Taser probes and examine his leg for any injury from the beanbag round.
The suspect was arrested and charged with Domestic Violence-related (mandatory arrest) charges of Assault in the Fourth Degree, Harassment and Menacing.
Associated Files for Case #11-40358
Reports (PDF, 2.9MB)