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The legislative committee, which a special session created, has 4 Black members and 2 retired police chiefs.

PMG PHOTO - Sen. James Manning Jr. and Rep. Janelle Bynum have been selected to lead the Oregon Legislature's committee to review police use of force.Two Black members will lead the Oregon Legislature's committee to review how police use force in Oregon and make recommendations to the 2021 session.

They are Sen. James Manning Jr. of Eugene and Rep. Janelle Bynum of Clackamas, both Democrats.

The membership, announced by legislative leaders on Tuesday, June 30, includes two former police chiefs: Reps. Rick Lewis of Silverton and Ron Noble of McMinnville, both of whom are Republicans.

The others: Sens. Lew Frederick, D-Portland; Bill Hansell, R-Athena; Dallas Heard, R-Roseburg; Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene; Kathleen Taylor, D-Milwaukie; Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer; Reps. Alissa Keny-Guyer and Akasha Lawrence-Spence, both D-Portland.

Manning, Bynum, Frederick and Lawrence-Spence are four of the nine members of the legislature's People of Color Caucus, which sponsored the package of six police accountability bills that lawmakers passed during a three-day special session last week. It was prompted by ongoing anti-police violence protests that erupted after the death of African American George Floyd.

Among the 14 members of the special session committee were Sens. Frederick, Heard, Prozanski and Thatcher, and Reps. Bynum and Lewis. Prozanski and Bynum lead the judiciary committees on their chambers.

The original House Bill 4201 would have put the Oregon Department of Justice, instead of district attorneys in Oregon's 36 counties, in charge of investigations into police use of force when it results in death or serious injury. But the amended version set up a special legislative committee to look at these points, as outlined below from the law:

  • Examine policies that improve transparency in investigations into and complaints regarding the use of force by police officers, and increase transparency in police protocols and processes to build public trust in policing;
  • Examine policies that reduce the prevalence of serious physical injury or death caused by the use of force by police officers by analyzing the use of force, the authorization of the use of force under state law and the disparate impact of the use of force on communities of color;
  • Determine the most appropriate policy for an independent review of the use of deadly force by police officers, including an analysis of procedures and policies used in other states; and
  • Examine any other policies that increase transparency in policing and reform the use of force by police officers.
  • The bill was amended after police unions said they had issues with the original version. The Department of Justice's legislative director said the agency did not have the budget, staffing or jurisdiction to take on such investigations — although Aaron Knott, on behalf of Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, said the agency was willing to discuss a broader role.

    Oregon's law governing police use of force dates back to 1971. Following an effort by then-Attorney General Hardy Myers, the 2007 Legislature required county-by-county plans for police use of force.

    House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, said this: "The police accountability and transparency bills passed last week are a long-overdue beginning. We anticipate and look forward to more public conversation and additional concepts to consider in order to break down the institutional policies that have injured communities of color."

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