City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, whose parks bureau oversees a city contract with private security firm Portland Patrol, Inc. (PPI), has declined the Mercury's repeated requests to be interviewed after a jury failed last week to convict a man for allegedly assaulting a rent-a-cop in Waterfront Park in May 2007. The rent-a-cop and former Portland Police Officer, Ron Cash, broke Steven Lee Johnson's finger and pepper sprayed him in the face during the altercation, violating PPI's stated "hands-off" policy for rent-a-cops ["Hands Off," News, Dec 4]. Johnson was only convicted for "failure to obey a parks officer," for refusing to leave the park after Cash told him to—a jury couldn't decide on several other charges.
Parks Security Manager Mark Warrington told the Mercury last Thursday, December 4, that he had been informed about the incident last year, but that he did not relay details to Commissioner Saltzman's office because he only relays details of incidents in parks "if it's a big-enough deal." Asked how he determines what's a big-enough deal, Warrington responded that he decides on a "case-by-case basis," but that generally, he does so "if it's going to be of interest to the community."
"Each year our security officers make roughly 200,000 contacts with the public, almost all are without incident," says Megan Doern of the Portland Business Alliance, the middleman in the city's contract with PPI. "So it is unfortunate when a person, such as the defendant, acts so aggressively that a security officer is put in the position of having to defend himself as the two independent witnesses to the incident, as stated in the police report, described." MD
An attorney who successfully fined a cop $35 for parking illegally back in July has issued another citation to the same cop, for the same alleged reason.
Last time, Eric Bryant used an obscure Oregon law that allows one citizen to give another citizen a parking ticket, to target Portland Police Officer Chadd Stensgaard, who was parked outside a restaurant at the time ["Turning the Tables," News, April 17]. This time, Bryant was monitoring police vehicles outside the bureau's central precinct headquarters on SW 2nd in early October when he saw a police car alledgedly driven by Stensgaard parked in a spot marked "Government Vehicles Prohibited." MD