[pjw] COMMENTS on Joint Terrorism Task Force Directive, January 2021

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Thu Jan 28 17:02:16 EST 2021

PJW supporters
I know there's been a lot this month/week about the Joint Terrorism Task 
Force, but the Bureau is asking for input into its policy ("DIrective") 
about the JTTF with a deadline of tomorrow (1/29) at 5 PM. Feel free to 
share our comments below (which may seem a bit like our testimony to 
Council) and, if you feel like it, make your own comments on the 

dan handelman
peace and justice works/portland copwatch

  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2021 14:00:19
From: Peace and Justice Works <pjw at pjw.info>
To: Chief Chuck Lovell <charles.lovell at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Captain Bryan Parman <Bryan.Parman at portlandoregon.gov>,
     PPB Directives <PPBDirectives at PortlandOregon.gov>,
     Portland City Council -- Commissioner Carmen Rubio
     <comm.rubio at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Dan Ryan <commissionerryanoffice at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty <joann at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Mingus Mapps <mappsoffice at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Portland City Council Mayor Ted Wheeler <mayorwheeler at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Portland Copwatch <copwatch at portlandcopwatch.org>
Cc: Lt. Craig Morgan <craig.morgan at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Dennis Rosenbaum <rosenbaumandwatsonllp at gmail.com>,
     PCCEP-Claudia Claudio <claudia.claudio at portlandoregon.gov>,
     PCCEP members <PCCEPinfo at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Citizen Review Committee <crc at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Independent Police Review <IPR at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Mary Hull Caballero <mary.hullcaballero at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Nicole Grant <Nicole.Grant at portlandoregon.gov>,
     "TAC, Police Bureau" <ppbtac at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Jonas Geissler <Jonas.Geissler at usdoj.gov>,
     Jared Hager <Jared.Hager at usdoj.gov>,
     News Media <newsmedia at portlandcopwatch.org>
Subject: COMMENTS on Joint Terrorism Task Force Directive, January 2021

From: Peace and Justice Works / Portland Copwatch

To:  Chief Lovell, the PPB Directives Team, Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners 
Hardesty, Mapps, Rubio and Ryan

cc: Compliance Officer/Community Liaison Team, Portland Committee on Community 
Engaged Policing, US Dept. of Justice, Citizen Review Committee, the Portland 
Police Bureau and members of the public and the media

To Chief Lovell, the PPB Directives Team, Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners 
Hardesty, Mapps, Rubio and Ryan:

Our organization continues to be involved in the efforts to limit or end 
Portland Police Bureau cooperation with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force 
(JTTF). One provision of the May 2019 resolution after the Council limited 
cooperation to a "case by case basis" was for the Bureau to draw up a policy 
(Directive) describing the City's relationship to the JTTF. In July, 2019, we 
submitted comments about the policy (#750.00), one of which was adopted by the 

However, the Bureau did not address our proposal to add these two Sections to 
the Directive*-2 in order to further assure that the reasons for withdrawing 
officers are safeguarded by this policy:

     4.2 Any training material the FBI provides to PPB task force
     members will also be provided to and maintained by the City
     Attorney's office (in accordance with the provisions of Section 1.2).

     4.3 Any training that is discriminatory and biased against any
     group shall be immediately reported to the City Attorney and will
     be a basis for not participating in the JTTF (in accordance with the
     provisions of Section 1.2).

We also would suggest that, even though the Resolution does not require it, the 
Bureau should add a provision in the Directive which adds detailed information 
about the cases sent by the PPB to the FBI which is reflective of the details 
of the FBI cases sent to the PPB (Section 5.2), including demographics and 
outcomes. The Bureau has voluntarily offered some of this information for the 
past two years but it should be expanded and memorialized.

We repeat here that the language reflected in Section 1.2 is based on an 
unacceptably broad policy set by Council in the Resolution. That language says 
the Chief can:

    assign PPB officers to work with the Portland FBI JTTF to assist in
    the investigation of any individual suspected cases of terrorism a
    and/or threats to life, including hate crimes, in or having a direct
    nexus to the City of Portland where there is reasonable grounds to
    suspect the subject of the information is or may be involved in
    criminal conduct.

This is language we warned the Council could allow the PPB to work with the 
FBI's task force dozens or maybe hundreds of times per year if there are cases 
in which anyone's life is threatened or a hate crime is committed, as opposed 
to the handful of cases the PPB works on with the FBI now.

Finally, it may not be appropriate for a Bureau Directive, but we would like to 
see a commitment to hearing public feedback both about the Report and at City 
Council. Sgt. Simpson acknowledged integrating community feedback into this 
year's Report. Mayor Wheeler continues to claim the City has a "practice" of 
not hearing public testimony on Reports, even though City Code allows the 
presiding officer discretion to do so.*-3 The Bureau has pledged openness and 
transparency including community dialogue and allowing discussion in person at 
the Council hearing would illustrate this commitment.

Despite the FBI's newfound interest in recognizing the dangers of white 
supremacists to this country, we disagree with broadly labeling political 
ideology as "terrorism" as it will inevitably snap back on people of color, 
immigrants, Muslims and progressive activists. Moreover, IT is still not clear 
why a Terrorism Task Force would be interested in every threat to life that 
might happen in Portland absent the qualities which would make that threat a 
form of terrorism, or how hate crimes by themselves automatically come under 
the rubric of terrorism. At Council, Sgt. Simpson noted that the PPB works with 
law enforcement partners on individual cases without needing to be part of 
specific task forces. That is the model we recommend around criminal acts which 
some call "terrorism." As we did with Chief Outlaw, we urge Chief Lovell, who 
has the discretion to accept or reject in any case the FBI asks for assistance 
(Sections 1.1 and 3.1), to err on the side of caution. The many organizations 
who objected to the PPB working with the FBI raised recent and long-term 
concerns about how the secretive federal agency tends to target vulnerable 

Thank you for your consideration

Dan Handelman and other members of
Peace and Justice Works/Portland Copwatch

*1- The Bureau added the words "in compliance with Oregon State law" to Section 
2.3 about restricting officers' information sharing with the JTTF.

*2-We have modified the previous proposed language slightly.

*3-City Code 3.02.040 (G)(5) 

More information about the pjw-list mailing list