The Albina Ministerial Alliance and Street Roots both released statements today lamenting the police shooting of homeless Portlander Jack Collins. Albina Ministries spearheaded protests of the Aaron Campbell shooting last month, including bringing Jesse Jackson to town to condemn the incident. At a press conference this morning, the group reiterated its five demands for the City of Portland. "It's a needless killing and police have not learned from their mistakes," sums up Portland Mental Health Association's Jason Renaud, who attended the event.
They groups five demands for police accountability and oversight are:
1. A federal investigation by the Justice Department to include: Criminal and civil rights violations, as well as a federal audit of patterns and practices of the Portland Police Bureau
2. The City Commissioners to strengthen the Independent Police Review Division and the Citizen Review Committee with the goal of adding power to compel testimony
3. Chief Rosie Sizer and the City Commissioners to fully review the Bureau's excessive force and deadly force policies and training with diverse citizen participation for the purpose of making recommendations to change policies and training.
4. The Oregon State Legislature to narrow the language of the State statute for deadly force used by police officers
5. To establish a special prosecutor for Police excessive force and deadly force cases.
Street Roots' response on its website does not come out swinging at the police, but instead reflects on how Collins' shooting highlights the troubled lives of many Portlanders who sleep on the city's streets:
It would be a real tragedy if the needs of people experiencing homelessness, those in the throes of addiction and/or mental illness, are merely co-opted to complete the picture of out-of-control police officers...
The larger picture is that there are many Jackie Collins’ out there trying to survive. And we as a city have yet to conjure a solution for not only those who have been “out there” for a long time, like Mr. Collins, but the countless numbers of people who are gradually spiraling down toward that same pit of self-medication, hopelessness and crisis.
Street Roots is right to point out that it's tough in situations like this to see a person rather than a symbol. A police report from 2005 that cites Collins for drinking beer in a park gives a glimpse of him as a human: the police officer's quantitative description of Collins as 05 ("thin") and 02 ("dirty") runs with an image of Collins' thumbprint.
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