[pjw] REPORT BACK: Council votes 4-0 allowing PPB to work with JTTF

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Wed May 8 15:42:06 EDT 2019

Hi again PJW and PCW supporters (and apologies again for duplication)

As expected, the Council voted 4-0 this morning (with Commissioner
Eudaly out of town) to adopt the second resolution guiding the PPB's
ability to work with the Joint Terrorism Task Force on a case by case

Eight people involved in the campaign testified, each of us thanking
the Council for its work to this point but expressing deep concern that
the language allowing the PPB to work on cases of terrorism "and/or
threats to life including hate crimes" is too broad. Those of us
representing organizations also talked about how many people we
represent, since the Mayor's staff had minimized our input as not

To their credit, the Council did vote to accept the amendment that
requires individualized suspicion of criminal activity, based on the
state statute.

However, there was no move to narrow the scope of what cases the FBI can
ask the Chief for help with.

Commissioner Hardesty acknowledged our concerns and stated that since the
FBI already ignores most threats to life and hate crimes she didn't
think this would result in more cases for the PPB to work with the JTTF,
and that the report (required to be presented in January next year and
every year) will tell her if we need to tweak the agreement further.

Commissioner Fish stated the annual reports are important to him even
though he thinks we should not have pulled out.

Commissioner Fritz stated on the record something I had heard only as a
rumor, which is that the Mayor pulled the two part-time officers out of
daily work at the JTTF shortly after the vote in February, showing
integrity in respecting the Council's vote. Unspoken: This operation is
so secret, we have no way to "trust but verify" that anything we hear is

The Mayor continued his absurd argument that the PPB being in the JTTF
helped modify the FBI's behavior to meet Portland standards. Even to
the extent that Portland is any better than the FBI (which is
debatable), thinking that an agency under the direction of the current
Attorney General and President will bend to our local concerns is a bit
short-sighted to say the least.

In any case, I started poking around to look for news stories, the only
post-vote one I found so far was on the Mercury blog, which does a
pretty good job summarizing the current status and the hearing:


I as alarmed by the headline on the OPB story which was posted yesterday
at 3 PM: "FBI Signals Support For New Relationship With Portland
Police." That kind of tells you that our concerns about the wiggle room
in the Resolution are valid.


In my testimony (during which Mayor Wheeler got up and walked away for
the first half) I raised the point that if it is true that the JTTF now
investigates school shootings and hate crimes, the 2015 resolution which
allowed the PPB to work with them should have come back to Council
anyway for a full discussion about this "mission creep."

Brandon Mayfield kicked off the testimony thanking Council, reminding
them of his story of being wrongly accused by the FBI. Seemab Hussaini
spoke on behalf of Unite Oregon about his experience as a Muslim in
Portland and community members who expressed their mistrust of law
enforcement. Jep King from Democratic Socialists of America noted that
the broad nature of the Resolution could allow the PPB/FBI to target
protestors. Carol Landsman of Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland reminded
Council again that Pittsburgh police are part of their JTTF but that did
not stop the shooting at the synagogue last year. Emory Mort from
Portland's Resistance presented a fact-based analysis of why the new
resolution doesn't pass muster. Harvey Thorstad of Veterans for Peace
appeared in fatigues and talked about how war is state sponsored
terrorism of the worst kind. And Jim Kennedy from Portland JACL
(Japanese American Citizens League) echoed the positive aspect of a
consensus Resolution while expressing concerns about the broad nature of

In sum, I think Commissioner Hardesty did all she could given that our
last demand would not have mustered even three votes at this time, but
we are really going to need to be prepared for (a) any case that comes
to light between now and 2020, and (b) the first annual report in

I really wish the Council had posted the Resolution last Monday when it
was prepared (and, prepared and released it earlier) rather than
releasing it Tuesday after it had already been given to the Council
Clerk. This would have shown a true commitment to community engagement.

We have won what appears to be a victory, but we will have to wait a
while to see how things play out with what could be what I called an
end-run around the withdrawal.

--dan handelman
peace and justice works / portland copwatch

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