PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a sudden change of department policy, the Portland Police Bureau has released the names of all officers involved in the bureau’s last five officer-involved shooting incidents, which date back as far as July.
The names of these officers were previously withheld, the Portland Police Bureau said, due to alleged security risks surrounding the unspecified publishing of PPB officers’ private information on the internet. The reported threat was actively investigated by the FBI during the time that these names were withheld, Portland police say. As of Dec. 9, the FBI investigation has concluded.
“PPB has withheld the names of officers involved in deadly force incidents since July 2022 after credible security threats came to light related to the doxing of PPB members,” PPB stated in a press release on Dec. 9. “The FBI launched an investigation into those security threats and requested [that] PPB temporarily hold any release of officer names.”
Following the completion of the FBI’s investigation, PPB Chief Chuck Lovell has announced that the bureau will immediately implement a new policy requiring PPB officers involved in incidents of deadly force to be named 15 days after each coinciding incident. An executive order outlining the details of PPB’s new procedure will reportedly be released once the wording of the former policy is officially changed.
“This new procedure strikes the right balance between transparency and the security concerns of our PPB members, and I am grateful for the patience of our community as we carefully considered this policy change,” Lovell was quoted as saying in the press release. “No matter the circumstances, a police-use-of-deadly-force incident has wide-reaching impact[s] on the community member involved, that person’s family and friends, the wider community, and of course the PPB membership. We owe it to everyone to enact a fair policy that considers them all. I believe this policy change is reasonable and responsible.”
Under the bureau’s previous policy, the identity of PPB officers involved in incidents of deadly force were required to be named within 24 hours. However, under the old policy, this information could be delayed if PPB were to say that an investigation involved a “credible security threat” — as it did with the previous five officer-involved shootings.
PPB provides previously withheld details from its last five officer-involved shootings:
- July 27, 2022, 100 block of Southeast 126th Avenue, Officer Joshua Dyk, a 4-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau, was involved. This case is currently being reviewed by the Multnomah County District Attorney. Officer Dyk remains on administrative leave.
- August 16, 2022, Southeast 80th Avenue and Southeast Lambert Street, Sergeant Charles Elam, a 13-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau, Officer Amy Li, a 5-year veteran of PPB, and Officer Christopher Baten, a 2-year veteran of PPB, were involved. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and issued a memorandum stating the officers’ actions were not criminal. Sergeant Elam and Officer Li have returned to duty. Officer Baten resigned from PPB on September 30, 2022.
- October 14, 2022, Southwest 12th Avenue and Southwest Jefferson Street, Officer Jonah Gellman, a 3-year veteran of PPB, was involved. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and issued a memorandum stating the officer’s actions were not criminal. Officer Gellman has returned to duty.
- November 7, 2022, Harrison Park at Southeast 84th Avenue and Southeast Harrison Street, Officer Erik Daniels, a 23-year veteran of PPB, Officer Joshua Howery, a 21-year veteran of PPB, and Officer Mark Piombo, a 16-year veteran of PPB, were involved. This case is currently being reviewed by the Multnomah County District Attorney. The officers remain on administrative leave.
- November 19, 2022, 2900 block of Southeast Steele Street, [the] involved member was Officer Christopher Sathoff, a 4-year veteran of PPB. This case has yet not been reviewed by the Multnomah County District Attorney. He remains on administrative leave.
“All of these listed incidents are currently under internal review, which is part of the use of force review process,” PPB said. “The Bureau conducts an internal review of the entire incident, including the initial response, resources requested, tactics used, and post shooting actions. [Each] case will go before the Police Review Board, which is composed of community members, Bureau members, and representatives from the Independent Police Review Division.”
Leaders say the driving force behind the change and delay is security concerns for officers.
“The difficulty in Portland is we’ve had many officers threatened before any information has come out. We’ve had officers wake up to flyers in their neighborhood, we’ve had officers’ family members threatened, people showing up at their homes threatening their families,” said Sgt. Aaron Schmautz, president of the Portland Police Association, the city’s police union. “If people want accountability, which they should, we need to make sure these police officers who are asked to do a very difficult job, are then supported as that process takes place.”
The bureau says officers face continued security concerns like doxing and threats from the public during deadly force investigations — something the Portland Police Association says goes beyond accountability and into intimidation, adding the extra time allows for investigations to be done first before publicly identifying officers involved.
“This conversation did not begin because the police weren’t being transparent. In fact, it began because the police were sharing names before we could have a full conversation about what happened because the investigations take time,” said Schmautz. “We must know the facts about these events, we must be able to do these investigations, and then share with the community what those investigations bear.”
Candace Avalos, chair of the Citizen Review Committee which was created to improve police accountability, released a statement on Twitter against the bureau’s policy changes, saying, “Killing a member of the public merits the utmost level of accountability and transparency. Less transparency = less trust with the community, in a city that already has a rocky relationship with our police. This policy further deteriorates that trust.”
No details on these reported doxing threats have been released by the Portland Police Bureau or the FBI, and to KOIN 6’s knowledge, no arrests have been made. PPB declined to interview on Friday.