Portland, DOJ reach tentative agreement on settlement
Portland and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached an agreement on a proposed new section to the 2014 settlement agreement guiding the city police bureau's use of force. The proposal lays out steps to bring the city back into compliance with the settlement, and paves the way forward on a number of thorny issues the city, police union and federal prosecutors have been trying to resolve since the city fell out of compliance in April 2021.
Among the steps laid out in the court filing submitted Monday, if the proposed changes are adopted, the city will have just over six months to implement a police body-worn camera program. The city is currently negotiating the specific policies around that program in mediation with the Portland Police Association, the union representing rank and file officers.
Body-worn camera policies have been a major sticking point between the police union and the city as the two try to reach a contract agreement. The union proposed policies allowing officers to review footage before writing their reports and sought restrictions on who has access to camera footage.
City attorneys negotiating the union contract have also had to contend with increasingly impatient federal prosecutors who outlined their desired policies in to the city.
"When an officer uses force, the officer shall not review any BWC recordings before reporting the force ... and completing all other reports associated with the same incident," the DOJ letter recommends. "After completing their required reports, a member may review any BWC recording associated with the incident and prepare separate supplemental reports with additional information."
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