Once again justifying our endorsement last year, North Portland state representative Lew Frederick spoke out against Portland Police on Friday night at a rally by the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform. Here's his speech, as I transcribed it on my laptop.
"I’m going to talk about two different things. One is a general idea: We have to make sure that the police are no longer an occupying force in our community. Because as an occupying force, they feel afraid and we feel afraid, and I’ve got to tell you I’m tired of feeling afraid. We can talk, and we can try to do a lot of things, but I am going to say this: We have to figure out what we’re going to do. I just spent the last month in the legislature, and I had a great time.Read more about the rally in this week's paper.
But about a week ago I found myself in a conversation with 10 other legislators. A legislator from Eugene said, so Lew, what are we going to do about this situation with the police in Portland? And if I weren’t there, we wouldn’t be having that conversation. There are a lot of things we need to do: Change the investigation system, training, psychological assessment, test the police after every incident for steroids because we know that that’s some of what has been going on here.
We have to change the attitude to a community police situation, not a military situation. We’re not talking about rules of engagement—that’s when you’re in a war. We need to make sure people are working with their fellow citizens and not with their enemies. This is a simple situation, look: We’ve got to take over the police department. We’ve got to have our folks, our people in the police department. We have to not wait for them to act correctly, we have to be there.
Now over the last few weeks I’ve had police officer after police officer tell me about how upset they were about what went down. They tell me this in a safe way, but they are afraid to step forward because they do not believe that they are going to get supported by the rank and file. The only way we change that is by making sure that they are the majority."