Your INTREPID REPORTER [damn that caps lock key] attended tonight, between 5:30 and 8:30 pm, the most recent meeting of the so-called Citizens Review Committee, which is abbreviated, as CRC, in all communication among the cognoscenti. The cop who pepper-sprayed three people underneath the Burnside Bridge, “exonerated” by the so-called Independent Police Review Board, was challenged, by a vote of six to one, and thus the CRC voted (passed a formal motion that stated) that the charge of unnecessary use of force be considered “Sustained”.
On four separate occasions the members of the Command Staff who were present at the public meeting referred to said police officer as quote Officer Engstrom unquote. On the first two occasions the vice-chair, serving at the absence of the chair, reprimanded the officer who spoke in that manner; after that the error passed without mention.
I made no promise of confidentiality, as a simple member of the public at a public meeting. So if there is an Officer Engstrom, they were talking about him.
What happened was that this Officer, Officer A in the redacted documents released to the public, violated almost every “de-escalation” canon the Portland Police have said they’re putting into practice.
He fondled a dog, while talking to homeless folk in the streets at eight o’clock in the morning. The dog bit him. He grabbed the dog. He forced the head of the dog against the ground, so that the dog could not bite him again.
He had help from his fellow officers once the situation, by his very confrontational actions, became volatile. His response to the situation becoming volatile was to “decide” to arrest a vocal member of the crowd who accused him of hurting the dumb animal, and to spray the so-called Appellant, his girlfriend, and a third party, identified in the documents as “a teenager”.
It had to be pointed out, by the interviewer for the IPR, that Officer A pepper-sprayed The Appellant twice; that is, Officer A was surprised to be so informed. You see, the incident was video-taped. The whole Appeal could not have been brought this far without the video supplied by one of the fifteen or so witnesses. Officer A was asked why he pepper-sprayed the Appellant, and he responded that Appellant had attacked Officer C. Officer C when interviewed by the same investigators, said that he had pushed Applellant, who had warded off Officer C’s arm.
As CRC Member Jeff Bissonette [don’t hold me to the spelling — MM] summarized at one point, “The action that precipitated the use of pepper-spray didn’t happen.” When the police officer who wrote the report terming the allegation of unnecessary use of force “Exonerated” was asked, by Bissonette, whether that fact gave him pause, the answer was monosyllabic:
“It does not.”