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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Police thuggery in Portland -- the latest chapter

Two Taser-happy officers cost the taxpayers another six figures in damages, and one was found to have lied about what happened:

"Officer Thompson denies deploying her Taser against Tran while he was on his knees, facing away from her, but based upon the testimony of several witnesses, I find that she did," arbitrator Alan Bonebrake wrote, adding she deployed probes into Tran's back.

"This was unnecessary, unreasonable and an excessive use of force," he wrote. Tran proved he was deprived of his civil rights from the use of the Taser, assault and Thompson's negligence, the arbitrator found.

Sounds like criminal assault to us, and was that lying under oath? Maybe the next Multnomah County district attorney ought to commit to doing the right thing and filing charges against the police in cases like this. Heaven knows, the outgoing D.A. wouldn't prosecute a cop for anything.

It gets worse, of course:

In her deposition, Thompson said she received a de-briefing from then–Central Precinct Sgt. Kyle Nice. (A police review board this month found he acted inappropriately for drawing his firearm during an off-duty road rage encounter.)

In a confidential memo Nice wrote to then-Precinct Cmdr. Mike Reese, he said the Tran case had caused Thompson anguish, she had reviewed it and would learn from it.

And of course, no one was disciplined for anything. There's just way too much of a pattern here, folks. Kyle Nice -- he of the James Chasse murder. And don't you dare say anything about it:
Because Clay would not put his face to the ground or turn fully away from police, Hughes fired his Taser at him twice. Police also threatened to Taser Clay's friend who was videotaping them.
Pitiful. God help our city.

At least the daily newspaper didn't bury the story on a Friday night, which is when they usually run this sort of news. They saved it for Sunday night-Monday morning, which is exactly right.

Comments (7)

I am normally very pro-police (I have two family members who are Portland officers) and when Tasers first became widespread, I was supportive of their use as a non-lethal tool do help subdue offenders/violent people.

More and more, however, I think Tasers are being used (inappropriately) as punishment tools, rather than tools of control.

There are Tasers out ther now, which are used by a few departments that have onb-oard cameras that automatically record each use... seems like a pretty good idea to me.

Interesting article in the latset Miller-McCune magazine ... Cover story on how to prevent suicide by cop.

It is George!

But with a pedo mayor, a drug impaired Rep, an indifferent populace more interested in living in the stone age, you will see little change in your life time.

The first mental health dis-qualifier that should be used when reviewing applicants seeking to become a Police Officer in the city of Portland, is their wanting to become a Police Officer in the city of Portland.

From the article George and dman reference above, (what I feel is) the money quote:

Time and distance are the allies of a crisis intervention team, and for police officers used to demanding and receiving immediate answers, such an approach can seem a revolutionary concept. But the advice isn’t exactly new: Florida police psychologist Dr. Laurence Miller has been writing columns for PoliceOne.com for years about an officer’s most important weapons: his brain and mouth. “Ninety percent of potentially lethal situations in law enforcement can be talked down through negotiation,” Miller says.

Ex-bartender you do have some smarts! Last week I asked a management level LEO about the problems in Portland, Seattle and Spokane. We were busy and interrupted, but I remember his comment: "Oh you mean the Robotic Cop!"

The quote you cite is right on. A misguided effort to protect LE lives has resulted in training to have cops to be robotic shooting machines at the slightest provocation or illusion.

A narrow example is to train LE to barge and shoot down a school shooter. At this time, it sounds reasonable when we look at the number killed by those perps.

But just as you realized, LE delivering a lethal result because commands are not followed, when backing off can and would be prudent should be reexamined.

Hiding behind "I felt threated" by a throughly trained, Kevlar protected, lethal and nonlethal armed LEO just isn't going to cut it when dealing with unarmed citizen.

Hopefully some cooler heads can prevail. Not a lot of hope with the Union and torrence of uniformed bullies with badges.

How many of these "problem" officers were hired during the era Portland only accepted applicants with a Bachelor's degree? Narrowing your pool might make efforts to hire easier, but it does exclude qualified people. If an agency had a broad pool and then selectively narrowed it, that might have been a better idea.

Another way to think of it - young college graduate with a degree in some liberal art realizes they can't get a job with their non-technical degree. Portland Police comes around recruiting, offering 55K a year or more. Person previously not interested in police work and possibly scared to death of such a thing is willing to give it a shot for that kind of money given their circumstances.

This is no way justifies any perceived brutality on the part of individual officers but if you want to know why it's perceived to happen so much in Portland, there's a place to look.

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