[pjw] FOLLOW UP: No surprises at Council JTTF hearing; watch party success
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Wed Jan 27 14:59:48 EST 2021
Sent this to the media and Council a few minutes ago. Sorry for
duplication with the Copwatch list.
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 11:51:00 -0800
From: Portland Copwatch <copwatch at portlandcopwatch.org>
To: News Media <newsmedia at portlandcopwatch.org>
Cc: Portland City Council Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
<joann at portlandoregon.gov>, Mayor Ted Wheeler
<mayorwheeler at portlandoregon.gov>, Commissioner Dan Ryan
<commissionerryanoffice at portlandoregon.gov>, Commissioner Carmen Rubio
<comm.rubio at portlandoregon.gov>, Commissioner Mingus Mapps
<mappsoffice at portlandoregon.gov>, Chief Chuck Lovell
<charles.lovell at portlandoregon.gov>, "Sgt. Pete Simpson"
<peter.simpson at portlandoregon.gov>, Portland Copwatch
<copwatch at portlandcopwatch.org>
Subject: FOLLOW UP: No surprises at Council JTTF hearing; watch party success
No surprises at Council JTTF hearing; watch party success
This morning, several organizations involved in the campaign to keep
Portland Police out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force held a live watch
party as the Annual Report on the JTTF was presented to City Council.
The 40 minute video can be seen at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNQSnwvxzhQ . The Council presentation
itself, mostly a recitation of part of the Bureau's Report given by Sgt.
Pete Simpson of the Criminal Intelligence Unit, contained no surprises.
Even questions from Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who led the Council
effort to remove Portland's two part-time officers from the Task Force,
did not really elicit any new or meaningful information from the Bureau.
Commissioner Hardesty did suggest revisiting the criteria for cases
shared between agencies before the next Report-- but this is something
five community members suggested to City Council during Communications
on October 7 last year.
The livestream commenters-- Dan Handelman of Peace and Justice
Works/Portland Copwatch, Brian King of Portland Democratic Socialists of
America, and Carol Landsman of Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland, spoke
about the history of the JTTF and how Portland got out of it, the
details of the Report's 10 cases shared between the FBI and PPB, the
dangers of political spying, racism, civil liberties, and the democratic
Mayor Wheeler set an unfortunate tone in his introduction, where he
claimed that the City has an "established practice" of not taking
testimony on Reports. But that practice was begun unilaterally by
Wheeler when he stepped into office in 2017. City Code allows the
presiding officer to take testimony on Reports. [City Code 3.02.040
(G)(5) https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/article/636383 ] The
other City Council members could over-ride that decision, but under
COVID, the public interested in talking are not "in City Council
Chambers" to step up to the microphone.
The Mayor also instructed the Council not to vote against accepting the
Report, which is inappropriate since Commissioners who feel the Report
was inadequate should have the ability to register their concerns with a
"No" vote. If need be the reporting agency could then return to Council
with a revised Report.
When it came to the vote, Commissioner Rubio echoed community concerns
about the staying vigilant against xenophobia and racial violence when
entering into agreements like the JTTF relationship. Commissioner Ryan,
who had previously answered a community questionnaire saying he agreed
with the idea of getting out of the JTTF altogether, seemed to soften
his position in light of the white supremacist attack on the Capitol,
which the livestreamers pointed out was already a violation of the law
and does not gain anything by being labeled "terrorism." He did
acknowledge communities of color and activists and their rocky
relationship with the FBI. Mapps, Hardesty and the Mayor simply voted
"Aye." The report was adopted unanimously.
In terms of transparency and communication, the PPB did respond to
questions posed by the abovementioned groups and allies in a "People's
Report" on January 4. Their answers were attached to the Council Agenda
item but not sent to Peace and Justice Works until 9:37 AM today--
during the hearing.
The watch party was conceptualized as a means to allow the public to
have a voice having being shut out of these hearings two years in a row,
and, while not intended to be funny, likened to the TV show "Mystery
Science Theater 3000." We encourage the media, the public, and Council
to watch the livestream.
In addition, these groups held a news conference on Tuesday Jan 26,
which is also up on the Peace and Justice Works YouTube page.
For more information contact Peace and Justice Works/Portland Copwatch
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