POTTER SEIZES COP REVIEW
Mayor Tom Potter took control of the Independent Police Review (IPR) back from City Auditor Gary Blackmer last Friday, February 29. Blackmer, along with his colleague, former IPR Director Leslie Stevens—who recently took a job with the police bureau—is now absolved from responsibility for fixing problems cited in an independent consultant's report on the IPR released in January.
In his response to the consultant's report suggestion that the citizen review board tell the IPR director when to conduct independent investigations, Blackmer wrote on his website that he was "elected to serve the citizens of Portland, not to have my judgment and expertise over-ruled by a committee appointed by council."
Potter's announcement followed a protest at city hall last Thursday, February 28, over the mayor's decision to delay a public hearing on the report until after March 18, when council will hold a work session on the report.
"I do not believe the mayor's office is the proper, permanent home for IPR, but it is the most appropriate during this review," Potter wrote in his statement.
"It's clear from Blackmer's response to the consultant's report that Blackmer is not the person to be the running the IPR," says Dan Handelman of activist group Portland Copwatch. "I think he showed at the very least he doesn't understand what the community wants a citizen review board to do, and at worst he showed contempt for the citizenry." MATT DAVIS
JUSTICE CAN'T WAIT
A circuit court judge dismissed the trial of six people over their alleged misconduct in an October 2006 "World Can't Wait" protest on Monday, March 3, saying the district attorney has taken too long to bring the case to trial. After 17 months, a two- to three-week trial was expected and the state planned to call up to 30 witnesses. But defense attorney Spencer Hahn of Multnomah Defenders made an oral motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial, which was granted by Judge Julia Philbrook. "I'm thrilled because I don't have to spend two weeks in a stupid trial where the state is just wasting everybody's time," Hahn says.
"I'd agree that 17 months is too long," says DA Mike Schrunk. "But I have been a defender and frequently I know that the best defense is delay, delay, delay." MD