For Immediate Release August 29, 2014
AMA Coalition Welcomes Judge Michael Simon's ruling
on Department of Justice Settlement Agreement
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform supports the ruling of Judge Simon affirming the Settlement Agreement for reforming the Portland Police Bureau and the active participation of Judge Simon in reviewing the progress or non-progress of implementing the Settlement Agreement.
The Coalition is particularly grateful that Judge Simon has insisted on the participation of all four parties to the lawsuit-- the DOJ, the AMA Coalition, the City and the Police Association-- as well as reports from the Compliance Officer/ Community Liaison.
The Settlement Agreement, while primarily focused on those experiencing mental health issues, should lead to better treatment of all Portlanders.
This ruling is a major step to creating a true community policing culture within the Portland Police Bureau in light of the national attention on Deadly Force and Excessive Force by the Police Department in the Michael Brown death in Ferguson, Missouri.
Yet, there is an intensified need for community engagement and community dialogue to prevent a Ferguson upheaval in Portland and keep Portland striving to create a national model of community policing.
Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform
July 23, 2014
Contact: Rev. Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr
Rev. Dr. T. Allen Bethel
The Settlement Agreement with Police Captain Mark Kruger
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform opposes the Settlement with Captain Mark Kruger, which includes Mayor Charlie Hales and Chief of Police Mike Reese's decision to overturn two internal affairs investigations findings about Captain Kruger, one including his posting of Nazi-era German soldiers in a Portland Park and the other retaliating against a female subordinate who'd filed a complaint against him. In addition to having his record expunged, Kruger received vacation time to compensate him for the eighty (80) hours discipline suspension and will receive a $5000 cash settlement.
This Settlement Agreement stemming from a legal claim against the city filed by Captain Kruger in 2013 rewards him for actions that are completely contrary to the vision of a diverse, accountable, just, community oriented and transparent police bureau that is being sought by Portland's citizens and the US Department of Justice.
The negotiated settlement by outside counsel due to internal conflict of interest and the decision by Mayor Charlie Hales and Chief of Police Mike Reese agreeing, signing and offering Captain Kruger abundant rewards for his past sustained detrimental actions against the city of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau is an insult to every freedom and justice loving citizen in the City of Portland.
The citizens of Portland remember that the actions of Captain Kruger in 1999 of a ceremonial service worshiping Hitler and the Third Reich as he honored five Nazi-era German soldiers who waged a war against humanity.
Also, the citizens of Portland remember the pending case of harassment brought by Lt. Kristy Galvan against Captain Kruger. Furthermore, to add injury to the insult of making Captain Kruger a poster image for the Portland Police Bureau, Mayor Hales approved a settlement agreement that not only rewards Captain Kruger but expunges his records of past complaints without going through the normal City Council process for lawsuits, especially for such a controversial settlement. This is further exasperated by Chief Mike Reese writing a letter of commendation to be placed in Captain Kruger's personnel file.
The citizens of Portland want to move as a progressive city for freedom, justice and equity, the decision by Mayor Hales and Chief Reese runs contrary to the image and direction of the City of Portland. Their decision shows insensitivity to those who have been victims of the Third Reich and their crimes against humanity as well as women who work in male-dominated professions.
This is not the direction the citizens of Portland desire to be reflected in their Police Bureau and their city.
Let the Mayor and Chief of Police send the right message to the citizens and every police officer that the past actions of Captain Kruger do not represent the City of Roses and let's support the Department of Justice Proposed Settlement Agreement and Judge Michael Simon's annual review of the Agreement to help insure police accountability, justice and reform.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 30, 2014
*CITY CHALLENGE TO ANNUAL COURT HEARINGS JEOPARDIZES DOJ AGREEMENT ON
IMPROVING POLICE PRACTICES *
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform (AMAC) strongly condemns the City of Portland's refusal to agree to annual status hearings on the Settlement Agreement with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The Court has indicated that, absent such hearings the Court will reject the Agreement. The City's refusal to participate in the proposed annual hearings -- in which the Court's authority is limited to receiving information and merely asking questions of the parties -- is unjustified, and is a clear rejection of the Court's continued authority over this case.
The City has spent countless resources negotiating the Agreement with the DOJ to resolve the DOJ's lawsuit alleging the Police Bureau (PPB) engaged in a pattern or practice of using excessive force on individuals with actual or perceived mental illness, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution. Shortly after the suit was filed, the City joined the DOJ in asking the Court to enter an order approving the Settlement Agreement and to conditionally dismiss the litigation pending the City's implementation of the Agreement.
The AMAC, granted enhanced /amicus curie/ status in the lawsuit, has worked in good faith to support the entry of the Settlement Agreement, despite concerns with the Agreement itself. The AMAC participated in mediation with all parties, resulting in a Collaborative Agreement with the City and the DOJ in which it agreed not to object to entry of the Agreement. Likewise, the Portland Police Association (PPA), which was granted intervener status, entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City and the DOJ, in which it too agreed to withdraw its objections.
In a March 24, 2014 hearing, the Court indicated that while the Agreement was substantively fair, adequate, and reasonable, it did not find it to be _procedurally_ adequate. Specifically, the Court expressed concern that, once the Agreement was entered, more than three years would lapse before it
heard from the City and the DOJ regarding its implementation. The Court therefore proposed annual hearings, at which the parties would report to the Court on the implementation of the Agreement. The City and PPA will not agree to participate in these annual hearings.
The AMAC has grave concerns regarding the City's and PPA's refusal to participate in annual hearings, despite their knowing this may result in the rejection of the Agreement. "The Community wants to see the Court's limited oversight over the implementation of this Agreement. The symbolism of the parties appearing in Court just once a year before a neutral and consistent observer, to give a status update, demonstrates the parties' commitment to transparency, and to the checks and balances of our system of government," said Dr. LeRoy Haynes, co-chair of the AMAC. "The limited review on the status of compliance sought by the Court should be welcomed by the City, given the City's assertion that it is already in compliance and on track with the implementation of the Agreement," said Dr. T. Allen Bethel,
co-chair of the AMAC."The City has been operating under the expectation that the Agreement will be entered; it makes no sense to negate all the work that went into negotiating and implementing the Agreement by rendering it unenforceable," Dr. Bethel said.
The City's refusal to agree to the hearings, now requires that the parties submit further briefing on the issue to the Court. The AMAC sincerely hopes the City will reconsider its untenable position, before spending more of the public's resources litigating a case involving the excessive use of force against the most vulnerable members of our community. "The failure of the Mayor, the city commissioners, and the PPA to accept Judge Michael Simon limited annual review represents a missed historical opportunity to unite our diverse communities and take a leap in resolving the rift in our city between the police and the community, particularly communities of color and person with mental disabilities," added Rev. Haynes.
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Open letter to Mayor Hales about Officer Wesson Mitchell--------------
Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform
c/o Allen Temple
4236 NE 8th Ave
Portland, OR 97211
Open letter to Mayor Charlie Hales
October 31, 2013
HAS BEEN HIRED AS LIAISON AMONG MAYOR, BUREAU AND COMMUNITY
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform is compelled to raise questions about your choice of a sworn police officer, Deanna Wesson-Mitchell, to replace Baruti Artharee as the liaison among the Mayor's office, the Police Bureau, and the Community.
Mr. Artharee was a longtime trusted community member, deeply rooted in the community, with a strong understanding of organizational development, systems improvements, and cultural competency issues.
Officer Wesson-Mitchell will have to prove abilities in these areas:
--sensitivity to the needs of the community around incidents of deadly force and police abuse;
--willingness and ability to implement and enforce the DOJ Agreement, including openness to strengthening parts of the Agreement;
--support for community concerns about the police accountability system;
--standing up to the Chief and Commanders who used to be her supervisors.
That said, it has been reported that Officer Wesson-Mitchell has the ability to return to the Bureau if she chooses to re-apply within three years. If her decision making will be in any way influenced by the concern that she may not be welcome back if she makes too many waves, it will be a detriment to the changes needed in the Bureau. We feel Officer Wesson-Mitchell should make a clear statement by agreeing not to seek re-entry to the Bureau whenever her term in this job ends.
While Officer Wesson-Mitchell has worked with the Community and Police Relations Committee on sorely needed institutional racism training for members of the Bureau and done outreach to try diversifying the force, those are not replacements for the kind of community-oriented concerns that Mr. Artharee brought to the job.
*The critical question is can the person who hold this position be unbiased, fair and just, as well as act as a change agent in transforming the culture of the Portland Police Bureau through the unprecedented historical department of justice agreement when her loyalty has been to uphold fellow police officers whether they were right or wrong in the use of deadly force or excessive force with the citizen of Portland. *
In the spirit of support for creating the best Bureau and best accountability system we can,
Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr.
Dr. T Allen Bethel
co-chairs, AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform
cc: Commissioners Fish, Fritz, Novick, Saltzman,
Auditor Lavonne Griffin-Valade
members of the community
members of the media
*--added to letter 11/2/13 and posted to website 11/5/13
For immediate release
January 9, 2013
Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition files to intervene in US DOJ suit against Portland
Late Tuesday afternoon, January 8, the Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) against the City of Portland regarding the Portland Police Bureau's pattern and practice of excessive force. The AMA Coalition's motion argues that the Agreement between the City and the DOJ "fails to address the concerns raised by the AMA Coalition regarding community involvement and officer use of force, among other issues."
The motion, complaint, and supporting documents can be found at these links:
For more information contact the AMA Coalition via Chair Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr. 503-287-0261.
Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform
c/o Dr. T. Allen Bethel, co-chair, Maranatha Church of God, 503-288-7241
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 8, 2012
AMA COALITION ASKS THE EMPLOYMENT BOARD TO PROTECT
PORTLAND FROM REINSTATEMENT OF FRASHOUR
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform filed a brief today with the Oregon Employment Relations Board urging it to uphold the termination of the officer who killed Aaron Campbell. The ERB is currently considering the question of whether an Arbitrator can order the City of Portland to reinstate Officer Frashour. The AMA Coalition filed two documents with ERB today. The first was a request to be heard at all; normally only the employer and the union participate in an ERB case. Here, the Coalition seeks to bring a community voice to the proceedings. The second document filed was an amicus, or "friend of the court" brief, arguing that an Arbitrator cannot order the City to reinstate Frashour because doing so will violate public policy and the rights of future victims of excessive force.
"By filing this brief, the AMA Coalition is asking the ERB to consider the communities most affected by police use of force," said Dr. T. Allen Bethel, chair of the Albina Ministerial Alliance. The court cases are clear that the City has a legal duty to the potential victims of Officer Frashour's next use of force to take at least basic steps to protect them.
"We are asking ERB to remember that it has a duty to the law and to human rights that no contract and no Arbitrator can eliminate. Most importantly, we are asking ERB to allow the City to take this one step to protect the next Aaron Campbell," said Jo Ann Hardesty, a member of the AMA Coalition Steering Committee. A more detailed summary of the Coalition's legal arguments is set out below.
# # #
Summary of AMA Coalition Amicus Brief
The Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB) is an agency responsible for resolving disputes between public employers and unions. It is currently considering the question of whether an Arbitrator can order the City of Portland to reinstate Ronald Frashour, the police officer who shot Aaron Campbell.
The AMA Coalition filed two documents with ERB today. The first was a request to be heard at all. Normally, only an employer and a union participate in an ERB case. However, the Coalition argued that in this case ERB should hear arguments on behalf of the communities most affected by excessive police force in the City of Portland, such as African American communities, individuals with mental disabilities, and other minority groups.
The second document the Coalition filed was an amicus or "friend of the court" brief arguing that an Arbitrator cannot order the City to reinstate Officer Frashour because in doing so the City will violate the rights of his potential future victims.
The City and the PPA have devoted much attention recently to a statute concerning the enforcement of arbitration awards which includes a "public policy" exception, ORS 243.706. However, there is a much more fundamental doctrine that also prohibits enforcement of the award. It is the centuries-old principle that courts bear a fundamental responsibility to the law that no private contract can eliminate: a court simply cannot order a person, or a City, to violate the law.
ERB cannot order the City to reinstate Officer Frashour if his reinstatement will violate the United States Constitution. Nor can ERB delegate to an Arbitrator its duty to determine whether the City will violate Portlanders' fundamental human rights by returning a gun to the hands of the man who shot Aaron Campbell in the back.
In some cases when a low-ranking "bad apple" officer uses excessive force, the officer has violated the Constitution but the city has not. However, the United States Supreme Court held in a case called Monell that if the city tolerates excessive use of force by its officers, then the city itself is liable for violating the Constitution. In other words, cities have a duty to discipline police officers who use excessive force.
The court cases are clear that if the City returns Frashour to his position, it will violate this duty. Not only did Officer Frashour use excessive force against Aaron Campbell, he also has a documented history of using excessive force and failing to learn from these mistakes.
The City has a legal duty to the potential victims of Officer Frashour's next use of force to take at least basic steps to protect them. The City can not eliminate this duty in a collective bargaining agreement or any other contract. Neither an Arbitrator nor the ERB can order the City to violate it.
# # #
Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform
c/o Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Allen Temple 503-287-0261
AMA COALITION FOR JUSTICE AND POLICE REFORM JOINS CHIEF IN CALLING RECENT SPATE OF SHOOTINGS "UNACCEPTABLE"
Portland, OR, January 4, 2011--The Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform today expressed grave concerns about the five officer-involved shootings which have taken place in the past six weeks. The Coalition agrees with the statements by Chief Mike Reese that the number of shootings is "unacceptable" and that "even one is too many." The AMA Coalition sees an urgency to re-enforce existing policies which call for the use of the least for necessary and training that gives officers de-escalation tools when confronting people with mental illness. Further, the AMA urges the Bureau and Police Commissioner/Mayor Adams to implement the list of recommendations they brought forth in June and September of 2010, which comprehensively address issues raised from the shootings of Jose Mejia Poot (2001), Kendra James (2003), James Jahar Perez (2004), and the beating death of James Chasse Jr. (2006). AMA's list of community demands also includes issues raised by the shootings in 2010 of Aaron Campbell, Jack Collins and Keaton Otis.
In particular, the City must focus on the policy and training around the use of deadly force.
The list of community demands can be found at
The AMA Coalition also wishes to remind the Chief and the Mayor about the recommendations by the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) made in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2009, and the Office of Independent Review in 2010. While it has been reported that OIR will soon begin reviews of shootings and deaths since 2004, we hope that they will take into consideration the recommendations from the Coalition and the community.
May 17, 2010-Chasse Settlement, Keaton Otis
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform calls this press conference in light of the rapid chain of events that have recently occurred in our city which radically impact the on-going police community crisis in the city of Portland.
First, we bring attention to the settlement of the James Chasse lawsuit against the City of Portland. We rejoice with the Chasse family that their long, hard fight to achieve a semblance of justice in the unjust and unnecessary death of their son, James Chasse has come to an end. While the financial victory of the settlement for the family does not carry the force of winning in a court trial, it does send a clear message that the City feared going to trial and losing. Therefore, they settled for the largest claim in a police death suit in the history of Portland. Furthermore, the release of documents and records from the suit will clearly show that the brutal beating led to the death of James Chasse.
Secondly we would like to speak to the recent shake-up in the leadership of the Portland Police Bureau. The change in position of Police Chief caught us by surprise, as it did many of the citizens of Portland.
Our major concern, beyond the internal politics of City Hall, is the welfare of the city in general, and in bringing solutions to the police/community crises in particular.
We are greatly concerned about the lack of community stakeholders input in the process of picking a new Chief of Police. This in no way reflects judgment on the character and leadership of the new Chief, Mike Reese, but the process speaks to one of the great values of the City of Portland, namely community participation. We hope this does not indicate a future trend regarding the leadership style of Mayor Sam Adams.
While we support the Mayor's taking the reins of supervision of the Portland Police Bureau as the City Charter intended, we believe the process of transition could have been better handled.
We look forward to working with Chief Mike Reese and Mayor Sam Adams to solve the police/community crisis as equal partners in creating a police force that reflects the expectations of the citizens of our diverse communities.
Finally, the recent tragedy in the deadly police shooting of Keaton Otis, a young, 25 year-old African American male with mental health issues, calls us to the "urgent now": we have a growing problem in the Portland Police Bureau that won't go away. As we sort through the preliminary evidence and conflicting testimonies between the police on the scene and citizens who witnessed the incident---at the end of the day, we still have a young African-American male with a mental health disorder dead and a police officer wounded. This deadly force shooting only adds fuel to the tension and mistrust between the Portland Police Bureau and the community it serves.
We call upon the Chief of Police and the Mayor for a transparent, swift and fair investigation in the shooting death of Keaton Otis.
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