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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Should Portland Ban Cops From Using Horses and Pepper Spray to Bust Up Protests?

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Portland's Charter Review Commission—volunteers responsible for helping amend what's basically the city's constitution—is holding a public hearing this Monday, February 13, on a pair of police accountability proposals that at least a few members would like to see voters enshrine.

Both address the tactics police use to break up protests—methods that attained new notoriety amid the recent Occupy Portland protests, even though they've also been on advocates' hit list for years.

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Getting these changes on the ballot, let alone persuading voters to back them, won't be easy. No doubt many will argue the police bureau needs these tools weapons at their disposal in the case of a genuine riot, and not merely an assemblage of activists blocking a road for a spell while they demonstrate their freedom of speech.

Minutes from a charter commission meeting in December offer a glimpse at the chilly response police measures (or Occupy-backed policy changes like instant-runoff voting) can expect from the Portland City Council. The council typically is tasked with deciding on the commission's recommendations for the ballot.

Mr. Rich Rodgers asks Ms. Jo Ann Hardesty questions pertaining to her meeting with the Mayor December 7th. He wanted to know if he was in support of the IUC [Independent Utility Commission] and if the Police Accountability Sub-committee had caused resistance towards the Charter Commission.

Ms. Jo Ann Hardesty said, “After the December 7th meeting the Mayor said he is not interested in anything I am not in support of such as the Police Accountability and Instant Run-Off.

The discussion, however, continued.

Ms. Jo Ann Hardesty would like to know if the Charter Commission would like to continue with the Police Accountability, and Instant Run -off Voting sub-committees

Mr. Steve Weiss said that they can put anything on the ballot with a fifteen affirmative member vote. He also agrees that the Police Accountability and Instant Run —Off Voting made the City Council nervous.

Show up Monday for the meeting, or at another meeting at City Hall on Thursday, February 16, and keep making people nervous. It's healthy.

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