City council approved a deadly force plan produced by Multnomah County pretty quietly this afternoon, during a council session attended by precisely seven members of the public and JESUS CHRIST...LOOK AT THOSE DREADS!!!
MIKE DEE: Activism, with HAIR...
Activist Mike Dee has been showing up more often for council since the homeless protest outside city hall, but he was there to testify this afternoon about how little outreach he felt the city and county has done on this project, given its controversial nature.
Copwatch didn't even know Multnomah County planned to approve the plan on May 22, and it tracks these things for a living. We at the Mercury didn't know, either. The Community Outreach program was held with only a few days notice, and fewer than a dozen people showed up to testify on it. Multnomah County was required to come up with the plan by Senate Bill 111, along with counties across Oregon, but Copwatch says council should have pushed harder to make it more aggressive. At the moment, it merely formalizes what the Portland Police Bureau is already doing around use of deadly force.
For example, Copwatch wanted grand juries held by the District Attorney whenever a death in custody occurs. The county plan continues to give the DA, who works closely with the cops, discretion. Others have called for drug, alcohol and steroid testing for officers involved in deadly force incidents, and for the police to be prohibited from putting out news releases or other statements exonerating officers until investigations are completed. Copwatch says Tasers should be included in deadly force policies, or at least examined. None of that was brought up by council this afternoon.
"They should have listened to community input and challenged the plan to make it stronger," said Copwatch activist Dan Handelman, after the session. "But they just rubber stamped it."
Perhaps most surprisingly this afternoon, Commissioner and soon to be mayor Sam Adams asked District Attorney Mike Schrunk and Police Chief Rosie Sizer if they thought the County's plan could be expanded to include private security firms. Schrunk and Sizer didn't have an opinion.
Did I mention, Mike Dee has MASSIVE DREADLOCKS?