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Assess this list of demands for reform. We owe it to those bringing heat to police accountability, to offer up targets that are difficult to articulate in street-level demands for change.
Our testimony in Portland City Council last week sought to establish that body-worn cameras on police – directed at The People and disconnected from functioning accountability mechanisms – are surveillance devices, and not to be seen as remedy for misconduct. We note that colorofchange.org did not include a previous call for adopting bwc in this well-drafted list of demands informing a petition of the nation’s Chief Executive and his Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security.

Consider these points:

“I urge you to take definitive and immediate action, including but not limited to the following reforms:

  • A fully-resourced and rigorous civil rights and criminal investigation by the DOJ into discriminatory policing, excessive force, and death or injury by police in every state in the country;
  • A comprehensive, streamlined, public national-level database of police shootings, excessive force, killings, misconduct complaints, traffic and pedestrian stops, and arrests, broken down by race and other demographic data, with key privacy protections, the exclusion of personally identifying factors and information, and deportation immunity for civilians.
  • Mandating of Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) in every state and inter-state coordination between all POSTs.
  • An executive order that creates a strong and enforceable prohibition on police brutality and discriminatory policing based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status.
  • Increased funding for the DOJ’s Office for Civil Rights to ensure additional, accessible state-level responders for police and other civil rights violations. Divestment of federal anti-drug grants and federal funding for police departments that demonstrate abuse of power and massive reinvestment in community controlled and based policing practices.
  • Support for the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA)
  • Streamlined national use of force matrix and mandating that state and local police have clear and streamlined matrices.
  • Strict limits on asset seizure without due process and the transfer of any military equipment to local law enforcement under the 1033 program, guidelines that ensure that the equipment is not used on non-violent protesters, and an end to the requirement that such military weaponry is used within a year.”

Given that the City of Portland was investigated by the DoJ Civil Rights Division – and found to police us illegally – local authority has been in the spotlight. It’s been tough to broaden awareness to reinforcing roles played by Multnomah County and the State of Oregon. We applaud a state-by-state Federal analysis of civil rights violations. “It’s a Portland problem,” was a position taken by law enforcement lobbyists, to deflect our legislation for changes to state law.

We’ve already identified that the City/DoJ plea deal failed to implement a use-of-force matrix. The Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform informs us, “The Agreement is not explicit enough in calling for officers to use the least force necessary, doesn’t allow for a “matrix” tying maximum force levels to certain levels of resistance, doesn’t prohibit the use of weapons, animals or vehicles as intimidation when no threat exists, and doesn’t prohibit the use of force on downed/injured subjects.”

Researchers have been compiling data on the 1033 program, trying to establish what military weaponry Federal authorities have been giving our local police.

We take it as astute, the CoC demand to call attention to Federal anti-drug grants. We think it is high time the Executive ends the nation’s unilateral War on Drugs. Call it ‘de-escalation’ in national tensions. It was a race-based initiative that resulted in incarceration rates incomprehensible for an open society such as America purports to be.

From PPB PowerPoint Presentation, dated 7/17/2013.

From PPB PowerPoint Presentation, dated 7/17/2013.

We know anti-‘gang’ is merely a pretext for anti-Black policies. As Oregon embraces the legalization of marijuana, some thought should be given to the debilitating effects of drug laws in general.

“Massive investment” in community-controlled and community-based policing practices has always been foremost at the core of our solution set.

American wisdom was evident at the conclusion of WWII … when the nation engaged in a Marshall Plan … to rebuild European economies.

Instead of massive police spending, in an era of declining calls for service and failure to implement span-of-control improvements in an oversized force, we think it is time to build an economy for the victims of racist policing.

Given our DoJ Settlement creates a nexus, bringing County Health into more formidable police roles already extant in anti-gang enforcement, we think these funding strategies must be reviewed as well.

We contend, from a health analysis standpoint, the victim class has experienced trauma that will continue to plague people of color for a generation to come.

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One thought on “Color of Change & Cogent Police Reform Demands

  1. See the Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide at the link in this article. In addition to funding streams for citizen-based oversight – independent of perpetrators of civil rights violations, established as the City of Portland – we think true remedy includes enhanced training on constitutional protections … and direct restorative action in economies of the victim class.

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