On December 19, 2013 the City of Portland, the Portland Police Association (PPA), the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform agreed to move forward with the process of settling the lawsuit filed by the DOJ. A Settlement Agreement regarding changes to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), adopted by Council in November 2012, includes many positive changes that will address some of the issues discovered in the DOJ’s pattern and practice investigation, which found the PPB uses excessive force especially when dealing with people who have or appear to have mental illness.
The AMA Coalition was granted “enhanced amicus” (friend of the court) status to the DOJ’s lawsuit against the City that led to the settlement Agreement. While this has given the AMA Coalition historic access to the process of federal oversight of local law enforcement, the community needs to speak out at a “Fairness Hearing” on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 9 AM, 1000 SW 3rd, to strengthen the DOJ Agreement.
It is clear that the DOJ Agreement has the potential to lower the amounts of police violence in Portland and increase accountability, but ensuring these changes requires more strength be put into the Agreement in some places, and modifications to those parts of the Agreement that will hold back police improvements until 2017 if not fixed.
Federal Judge Michael Simon set the February 18 “Fairness Hearing” to allow the community to weigh in on whether the Agreement is “fair, adequate and reasonable.” The judge made it clear he will allow testimony in writing or by video (which can be submitted in advance) in addition to in-person presentations in the courthouse (for which members of the public are requested, but not required, to pre-register). Organizations will have up to 30 minutes (up to 3 representatives who can speak 10 minutes each maximum), individuals will have 5 minutes. If you want help formulating your testimony or want to have your testimony taped and sent to the court, please contact the AMA Coalition.
Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform
c/o Allen Temple
4236 NE 8th Ave
Portland, OR 97211
COMMUNITY FORUMS TO PREPARE FOR THE FAIRNESS HEARING
The AMA Coalition is planning a series of community forums to explain the DOJ Settlement Agreement and the purpose of the Fairness Hearing to the community, at which people will also be encouraged to write their testimony and/or record video to send to Judge Simon.
Tuesday, January 28 • 6:30 PM-8:30 PM • First Unitarian Church • 1011 SW 12th Ave
Saturday, February 8 • 2:00 PM-4:00 PM • St Johns Community Center • 8427 N Central St
Thursday, February 13 • 6:00 PM-8:00 PM • Rosewood Community Center • 16126 SE Stark St