Portland Community Members and Orgs Cannot Trust Police Due To Pattern of Disinformation.
On June 24th, 2021, after an officer shot and killed a community member, Portland Police put out a statement about protests at the scene. Their statement, “One officer’s baton was grabbed and she was being pulled toward the crowd. Other officers quickly intervened. Someone from the crowd pepper-sprayed an officer.“
Soon after, a reporter posted a video of the scene that tells a very different story, showing officers instigating, assaulting, and using pepper spray. The press release’s information is in question.
This is not an isolated incident. Previous releases by PPB Public Information Officers are false and misleading.
In October, Portland Police put out a statement that a young woman jumped on a police motorcycle. Video clearly shows that the officer hit her and pushed her several feet. News reports at the time called the police statements into question:
“No one ‘jumped on the motorcycle,’” Bascom told The Oregonian/OregonLive Saturday. “The protesters planted their feet in front of it and were driven into.”
This past spring, the PPB PIO put out several posts about police dispatched to Fred Meyer. The posts from the official Portland Police Twitter account made several claims,
A review of the 911 calls and dispatch notes shows this is not accurate. The calls specifically stated no concern for safety and officers were dispatched specifically to protect the dumpster.
In 2019, PPB’s PIO put out an official statement that activists were throwing quick-drying concrete without evidence. Further reviews of the incident show no documentation of this occurring and PPB did not “have physical evidence to back up the milkshake claim”.
The public relies on accurate information from Portland Police and their Public Information officers. These recent examples show that the veracity of the Portland Police PIO is of concern. As the media relies on these releases for reporting, accuracy is a must. The public starts its trust from this information. After this pattern, the community demands action and an investigation into the claims and processes of the PIO. The police bureau and mayor have committed to building trust. Accurate and transparent information around calls and crises is crucial. Work is needed.
- The Council order an independent third-party review of PIO releases, accuracy and processes and commit to public disciplinary measures for those found violating. COCL should be tasked with this review. OIR is also currently investigating PPB culture and this could be added as a unique area.
- BOEC and PPB be ordered to proactively release all 911/radio calls, CAD notes, and police reports for incidents where a PIO release is made and there’s no ongoing danger to life/critical need for information to be entirely withheld.
Oregon Justice Resource Center • ACLU-Oregon • CAIR-Oregon • Democratic Party of Oregon — Black Caucus • Portland United Against Hate • Police Accountability Team, First Unitarian Church of Portland • Mary Barbee of PNW Family Circle (family member of Wesley Allen Barbee, murdered by police) • Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance • Public Accountability • Kathleen Mahoney (Attorney and ACLU Legal Observer) • Elliott Young • Rabbi Ariel Stone (Convener of the Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance) • Nat West (Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider) • Jake Dockter (Chemical Weapons Research Consortium) • Emory Mort (Portland’s Resistance) • Jen Jones (Activist and resident) • Laura Massey (Researcher and resident) • Michael Quinn (Activist and resident)