PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two members of a Portland police oversight panel have resigned, one criticizing the city’s “failed” response to ongoing protests and the other citing a lack of city accountability for bad policing decisions.
A third member also resigned because she’s moving to Seattle, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
“It’s disappointing to lose valuable help at this time,” said Candace Avalos, the chair of the Portland Citizen Review Committee, a 11-member volunteer group that hears appeals of police findings on complaints made against officers.
Avalos read the members’ resignation letters to the committee at the group’s meeting Wednesday night.
Hillary Houck, who joined in 2018, stepped down because she said she felt the mayor and police chief had undermined police accountability. Houck mentioned Mayor Ted Wheeler’s position at a May 2019 meeting, when he didn’t agree with the committee that police had retaliated against a woman who was taking officers’ photos by citing her for jaywalking.
“I was dismayed by the Mayor’s reaction and the ultimate consequence for the officer involved in a case that our committee and the rest of City Council saw as clear retaliation,” she wrote.
Adam Green cited what he called a failed system with failed leadership as reasons for quitting the committee.
“We continue to witness excessive force used by officers on the streets. Members of the media continue to be threatened. Armed Trump supporters are allowed to parade through downtown Portland while pointing guns at people that aren’t wearing Trump gear,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “I can no longer support this system in any way.”
Wheeler said in June that he wanted to overhaul Portland’s civilian oversight of police, acknowledging that the confusing system doesn’t have “any real teeth.”
Portland residents will vote this fall whether to revamp the system in a way that proponents say will lead to more accountability and transparency in investigations of officer misconduct but details have yet to be worked out.
The Portland City Council voted unanimously in July to refer the proposal to the Nov. 3 ballot, despite objections from City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero, who oversees the existing Independent Police Review, and the Portland Police Association union, which represents most of the city’s officers.