RE: “Multnomah County Grand Juries Keep Violent Officers on the Streets” [News, March 28]. “Portland grand juries almost always agree with the district attorney that there’s enough evidence to indict a suspect and take the case to court,” wrote News Editor Alex Zielinski. “Unless that suspect is a cop. Nearly every time a Portland officer who has shot a civilian faces a grand jury, they walk free.”
Alex Zielinski’s article on the cozy relationship between the police and prosecutors deserved the Mercury cover and should be run every week until there is major change. To think that prosecutors can investigate police misconduct fairly is foolish—just as foolish as thinking the police can investigate themselves. There is a built-in conflict of interest. It’s one reason why, when officials are accused of misconduct, independent special prosecutors are necessary. When prosecutors want an indictment from a grand jury they get it; when they don’t want an indictment, as with police, they don’t ask for one and none is forthcoming.
Although grand juries were guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to act as a check on prosecutorial abuse, and may have once upon a time been independent, that is no longer the case. Citizens cannot look to the Portland City Council to protect them either—the council is afraid of the police union.
Probably every alleged criminal, in or out of uniform, would like to be in charge of investigating themselves. But it is a fundamental violation of the rule of law. Portland and Oregon need a permanent special prosecutor to address alleged police wrongdoing. The prosecutor needs insulation from local district attorney and other state prosecutors and should be free from close personal and cultural ties with the law enforcement establishment.
RE: “How to Tip and When” [Food, April 18], in which Chad Walsh discussed the necessity of tipping delivery drivers, baristas, bartenders, and more.
May I add one massively undertipped segment: The workers at the two local gay bathhouses, the few mostly-hetero sex clubs, and the 97 adult bookstores in Portland.
Workers at these clubs and businesses have to put up with a lot, not the least of which is cleaning up when you’re done. Daily, we clean more body fluids from floors, walls, and furniture than every crime scene cleaner in all 734 Law & Order shows combined. The abattoir of body fluids we face in an eight-hour shift resembles the bloody elevator scene in The Shining, except whiter and more viscous and (generally) without creepy twins.
So when you see a tip jar on the counter when you’re paying for your locker, your supplies, or your “private room,” for the sake of your future orgasms... TIP! $1 minimum, but up to $5 is entirely socially acceptable.
Anonymous Underpaid Jizz Cleaner
SHEETS TO THE WIND
RE: “KATU Gets a Big Shoutout on SE Hawthorne” [Blogtown, April 19], Managing Editor Erik Henriksen’s story about a massive banner, assembled from bedsheets, that hung from an apartment building on Southeast 16th and Hawthorne. Featuring the logo of Portland TV station KATU above the phrase “EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO OUR DEMOCRACY,” the banner referred to KATU’s participation in conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group’s nationwide announcement, delivered via its news anchors, that “some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think.’ ...This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.”
If I ever find the dastardly scoundrel who committed this vile act... I’ll buy them/her/him a pint of her/their/his favorite microbrew! Well played, sheet-stitcher of as-yet-unknown identity.
Anonymous Underpaid Jizz Cleaner, you definitely deserve the Mercury’s letter of the week—and two tickets to Portland’s beloved Laurelhurst Theater! Thank you for your service.