Two weeks ago, when Portland police executed a search warrant on the city's southwest fringes, they didn't let a locked door and some outdated information stop them. According to a neighbor who witnessed the nighttime operation, the police simply smashed down the apartment's door and proceeded to "completely toss" Zhi Zhan Yang's apartment.
But unfortunately, the police had the wrong apartment--or at least the wrong suspect. The suspect listed on the warrant--not Yang--had actually been evicted more than four months ago, a simple piece of info that likely would have been uncovered with some preemptive "investigating" or "detective work."
Yang wasn't home at the time of the search, but arrived later to find a note on the door. When he called the police, he was offered no apology.
Since Yang was waiting to speak with an attorney, he couldn't give further details. But he did say that the friendly visit was the work of the city's Gang Enforcement Unit. Last week, at one of the traditionally peak times for gang activity in town, almost all the members of the unit were on vacation and unavailable for comment. SCOTT MOORE
DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!
So eager was he to introduce an ordinance requiring police accountability, council member Jim Francesconi nearly cut off a citizen testifying on another matter last Wednesday. A week earlier, Francesconi had tried to bring forward a resolution requiring updates on what the police chief was doing to improve training. But because mayor Vera Katz oversees the police, Francesconi was forbidden from introducing the idea--that is, unless he could muster four out of the five council votes and override the mayor's objection. Co-introduced by Randy Leonard, the resolution also had support from Dan Saltzman, leaving Erik Sten as the swing vote.
In council, Sten, who has a rocky relationship with Francesconi at best, said he was reluctant to short-circuit normal protocol and subtly accused Francesconi of looking for media play during this election season. The ordinance failed 3-2.
The mayor has promised to push for updates from the police chief. But then again, she also promised in December to quickly clear up confusion over the city's sign code, which prohibits murals. PB