Complaints against PPB at protests flood oversight agency

Protests

Independent Police Review says many cases are bottle-necked in the intake phase

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Protests in the Rose City continue on a near-nightly basis and a city oversight agency is investigating dozens of complaints about how police respond to them. 

Ross Caldwell, the director of the city auditor’s Independent Police Review (IPR), said the oversight agency has seen what would typically be a year’s worth of cases in just the past couple of months. 

“We have 91 cases that have come in now, some of those are in internal affairs, some of those are at IPR,” Caldwell said Wednesday during a meeting with the Citizen Review Committee. 

Many of the complaints and allegations about police behavior are still in an intake phase which typically takes about two weeks. 

“We have a whole lot of cases that are still bottle-necked in that early part and we continue to have a lot of cases coming in pretty regularly, as you can imagine,” Caldwell said. 

The IPR director told KOIN 6 News the first step is to determine whether a case involves a Portland police officer. If it doesn’t, the IPR refers the case to a different law enforcement agency. 

Also on Wednesday, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced the launch of an online dashboard to track protest cases to date. It shows more than 970 cases have been referred to the DA’s office, more than 600 of which have been rejected. 

Public order crimes represent the highest number of cases reported, followed by person crimes and property crimes. 

The IPR and the Citizen Review Committee anticipate more work ahead as the protests in Portland march on. 

“I think our investigators are still kind of trying to triage: the things that come in that are sort of people’s thoughts and feelings about stuff versus an actual interaction with a Portland police officer that we can investigate,” Caldwell said. 

The IPR is often tagged in an informal complaint posted on social media but this is more difficult to investigate, according to Caldwell. He said it’s better if the agency is able to actually speak with the person filing the complaint. 

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