The hearing has to do with the case of Matt Klug, who's appeared before CRC a number of times previously complaining that officers who beat and tasered him in 2014 used excessive force. The last finding by CRC, issued on December 7, was to reject the request from Chief Mike Marshman to revert to the Bureau's finding of Exonerated with a Debriefing. One reason Marshman gave for not wanting to find the officer out of policy is that he would be ineligible to continue on the Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT). It so happens that the City's agreement with the US Dept of Justice around using less force, especially against people in mental health crisis, restricts officers with excessive force findings from being on ECIT-- and with good reason. Klug was clearly in mental health crisis at the time, apparently tossing out the contents of his pockets and telling the police "I'm not homeless!"
Though Council will be restrained to refer to the Bureau member in question as "Officer B," his name has previously been published as Bradley Nutting.
For historic reference, it's important to note that Portland's previous oversight system WAS the City Council, who would sit as PIIAC (the Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee) and hear appeals when civilians didn't like the outcome of hearings before a 13-member advisory board. After two Chiefs of police rejected four separate recommendations by Council in the late 1990s, the CRC and the "Independent" Police Review Division were created in 2001, with the Council given the (alleged) final say on the outcome to avoid further rejections of our electeds' wishes.
The only previous case that went before Council, also involving use of force, similarly was split between the Bureau's "Exonerated" finding and the CRC's "Sustained" proposal. In that case, involving Merrick Bonneau being mistaken for his half-brother, Council split the difference and made the finding of "Insufficient Evidence." That finding is now (confusingly)
called "Not Sustained" and is a possible outcome for Wednesday.
PCW's coverage of the 2003 appeal is here:
Five Citizen Review Committee Members Resign in Protest
Mr Klug was zapped during a confrontation arising out of his dispute with a motorist about cutting him off on his bicycle. Some CRC members were unsure whether any of the Taser uses were needed. Some only focused on the sixth and final zap, which the officer administered "accidentally." As CRC Chair Kristin Malone pointed out, if the officer "accidentally" discharged a firearm, we'd be having a different conversation.
Changes proposed to the CRC process in September would have cut out community input at CRC appeal hearings. Those provisions are still under discussion by the City after a Stakeholder group issued a report in December.
link to www.cdri.com
City Council protocols for appeals do not contemplate having public input, even though PCW argued strongly for it when CRC wrote the formal rules in 2012. Council generally takes testimony before voting on most other issues. It is not clear whether they will invite public input Wednesday.
For more information contact Portland Copwatch
(a project of Peace and Justice Works)
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065 (office)
(503) 321-5120 (incident report line)