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Police Fail to Adhere to DOJ Settlement

Representatives from the city of Portland appeared in federal court to address the city’s ongoing lack of compliance with a 2014 settlement agreement from the Department Of Justice. US District Court Judge Michael Simon was charged with assessing the city’s progress. And the initial feedback was less than positive.

City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said, “I did not [want to] speak with the city today, because I don’t see myself standing with people saying, ‘We’re doing a good job.’ We’re not.” Hardesty pleaded with the judge to demand tangible actions to address departmental shortcomings.

The agreement was the result of a DOJ lawsuit against the city of Portland for consistent uses of excessive force, especially against people exhibiting signs of mental illness. And despite numerous hearings designed to shed light on the process since its 2014 inception, it had taken the city until February of 2020 for its police force to come into full policy compliance.

And yet, there were several incidents involving police response to the ongoing public protests throughout the summer of 2020 and into 2021 that revealed several operational gaps. City attorneys tried to explain these incidents as being products of extraordinary circumstances, but Hardesty and various community stakeholders say otherwise.

Attorney Ashlee Albies said, “PPB has held itself out as a learning organization. But in order to be a learning organization, it must self-reflect and do so critically. And it’s not for the purposes of punishment. It is for the purpose of … holding officers accountable, holding systems accountable, so that the public has faith in that system.”

Judge Simon agreed saying, “We want policing to work. We want our community to trust our police officers. We want our police officers to continue to feel good about what they do and to earn the respect of the people that they serve.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

As Christians it's our responsibility to respond to correction with humility and repentance. Refusing to do what's right is not being steadfast, but being stubborn.

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