[pjw] INFO: City Council votes 3-2 to get out of the JTTF
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Wed Feb 13 21:25:40 EST 2019
Quick quiz: What's the second city since 2017 to agree to pull its
officers out of the local Joint Terrorism Task Force? Answer: PORTLAND!
Yes, today nearly 40 people testified in favor of getting out of the
JTTF. In addition to people from among organizations representing labor,
faith, social justice, immigrant rights, environmental, African
American, Asian American, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, business and other
communities who are signators to the campaign letter, we had our guests
from San Francisco-- Michael German (a former FBI agent now working at
the Brennan Center for Justice) and Zahra Billoo (Executive Director of
the Council on American Islamic Relations- San Francisco Bay Area).
The vote was 3-2. To be honest, a lot of us weren't sure what
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly was going to do. Looking back at our contacts
with her, I think, in essence, she was following the (not true) story
about Franklin D Roosevelt when people approached him about creating the
New Deal. He allegedly said, "That's a great idea, now make me do it."
So, by mobilizing so many people from the community, I think we were
able to give Eudaly the courage she needed to do the right thing.
Just to be clear, the resolution calls for the PPB to get out of the
JTTF within 90 days, so we're not out yet.
Here's a VERY brief rundown of what happened. After brief opening
statements in which Commissioner Nick Fish tried to slyly introduce the
counter-measure he and Mayor Wheeler were proposing, to stay in the JTTF
but with amendments, Commissioner Hardesty invited up Kimberly
McCullough of the ACLU, Mr. German and Ms. Billou. Side note: we had
some strange luck related to their travel plans, as Ms. Billou was
originally going to arrive with barely enough time to get to the Work
Session yesterday and have to leave shortly after the hearing started
today, but her first flight had to be rebooked to an earlier hour and
the second was delayed. Mr. German also had his flight delayed and was
able to "pinch hit" at the end when Mayor Wheeler was being snarky and
asking McCullough whether her saying the FBI coming to the PPB with
credible terror threats means that she trusts the FBI. He was being so
deliberately confusing I can understand why she couldn't respond-- but
Mr. German came in and refuted the Mayor's assertions. Particularly
great was when the Mayor asked if Portland should pull out of other FBI
task forces including ones that deal with child trafficking and Mr.
German said, we should look at getting out of those later.
There are many people to thank, of course we could not have done this
without Commissioner Hardesty (and her staff), but so many working on
the campaign that we started two years ago last month have been meeting
and planning, doing outreach, talking with commissioners and getting
ready for today.
I realized afterward that nobody-- neither the Council members nor
testifiers-- mentioned that the resolution calls for the Mayor and
Commissioner Hardesty to come back with a plan of what the FBI/PPB
relationship will look like sometime in the next 55 days. So, as usual,
there is still more work to do.
I should also add that only two people testified to stay in, but neither
represented an organization. The Mayor and Commissioner Fish tried to
name check a bunch of people who weren't testifying today including the
Citizens Crime Commission and the Jewish Federation-- the only two
non-governmental organizations that were at the Work Session. Fish also
for the second day in a row said that anti-hate organizer Randy Blazac
was for staying in the JTTF, but an article in yesterday's Tribune
quotes him as being agnostic on that particular question.
Some of the commissioners pointed to last week's vote denouncing white
supremacy as a reason to be consistent and get out of the JTTF, while
Fish and Wheeler implied it was a reason to stay in.
There's a lot more, and I'm sure the media is covering the story. At
least 2 TV and 2 radio stations were there.
I'm pasting in the link to the Oregonian's story just because I want to
get this report out quickly.
Thanks to everyone for their work on this!
peace and justice works/ portland copwatch
(as usual, sorry for any duplication)
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