PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Supporters for a ballot measure to overhaul the accountability processes for Portland police held a press conference on Monday.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is leading the charge for a change to the city charter regarding police accountability. Though she was listed by organizers as one of the speakers, she did not attend the press conference.
Hardesty has been pushing for police reform and accountability for decades and has been the driving force to get Measure 26-217 on the ballot.
Measure 26-217 would create a new oversight board of community members who would review complaints against the Portland Police Bureau and impose discipline.
“Out of the last 40 individuals shot and killed by Portland police, out of the 65 officers who fired their weapons, zero were held accountable, zero discipline was imparted,” said speaker Darren Golden.
The measure changes the city’s charter: it scraps the current police review committee and creates a new oversight group with civilians who would have the ability to discipline and fire police officers—responsibilities currently belonging to Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner.
Apart from investigating deadly force, the board would review other police issues like in-custody deaths. Current or former police officers would not be allowed to be on the board.
Opponents disagree with the measure, saying current levels of oversight can be tweaked to serve the purpose.
“They want civilian oversight that allows civilians to not only subpoena police officers but also discipline police officers,” PPA President Daryl Turner said. “There’s nobody like that when you look at oversight in any profession.”