TRANSFORMING PUBLIC SAFETY & POLICING
Since the first protest I attended in 1990, where I witnessed police brutality against peaceful protesters, I have been a vocal critic of the Portland Police Bureau. I personally know numerous individuals who have been victims of police brutality, including James Chasse, a customer at my bookshop who was killed by PPB in 2006, and a member of my extended family who was shot and killed by police (not in Portland) experiencing a mental health crisis, in 2014.
In my first two years on Council, despite multiple attempts to address crowd control methods, "less lethal" weapons, and the militarization of our police force, I hit one barrier after another. Past Councils have bargained away so much of our power that we have to pay settlements to get rid of bad cops. With the election of Jo Ann Hardesty to City Council that began to change. Because of the leadership of Commissioner Hardesty, we have withdrawn from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, eliminated problematic specialty units, and cut $15M from the police budget. It is clear that after 100+ nights of protests and more than 75,000 emails received by Council offices that we have a mandate to dramatically transform our approach to public safety and policing. I am excited to work with my colleagues and community members, especially BIPOC communities, to advance this work.
It's clear that decades of police reform, including changes in hiring and training practices, have not made Black Portlanders safer. It's time for a different approach. We must reallocate resources to efforts that benefit communities, address the root causes of our social ills, and minimize police interactions with community members.
✓ Supporter of Portland Street Response as a safe alternative to police interactions with people in crisis.
✓ Working with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty on police munitions restrictions.
✓ Working on the Reimagine Oregon platform to dismantle systemic racism.
✓ Stood up to federal law enforcement brutalizing Portland Black Lives Matter protests and called out indiscriminate use of force by the Portland Police Bureau.
✓ Voted to get Portland out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and ban public use of facial recognition technology.
✓ Supported police budget cuts to eliminate units with a track record of racist profiling.
The next four years
- I will explore how we can develop other solutions to our community’s challenges that minimize contact of community members with armed law enforcement; bring all voices to City Hall to build a safer Portland.
- I will work to limit the power of the Portland Police Association in contract negotiations to the extent possible, support state reforms to CBAs that limit negotiation to wages and benefits--not protecting racist and violent police officers.
- I will use my platform as Commissioner to fight for state policies on use of force and qualified immunity as well as broader criminal justice reform to stop mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline that devastates lives, especially for BIPOC communities.
- I will continue to partner with community, especially Black leaders, to develop community-driven solutions that redress centuries of oppression and violence and move toward conditions where Black Portlanders can thrive.
- I will support cutting long-standing vacant positions from the Portland Police Bureau and use savings to invest in the most impacted communities as directed by the oversight committee.
- We need to increase funding, expand the service area, and accelerate the timeline of Portland Street Response.
- I will continue to oversee the work initiated by PBOT in response to the issues identified by Walking While Black focus groups in recognition that Black Portlanders experience public space and public safety differently. We need to require that all City bureaus establish programming and initiatives focused on protecting Black lives and supporting the resiliency of the Black community of Portland.