Feds urge judge to accept Portland police settlement without changes

Calling the agreement on which will “fundamentally alter the way in which Portland police interact with the people who live and work in the City,” the United States Department of Justice Tuesday urged a judge to approve the agreement without changes.

Judge Michael Simon last month presided over two days of hearings in which community members asked him to consider several changes to the agreement.

“While the United States acknowledges that many community members wished this Agreement went further, many of the objections sought reforms that go well beyond the scope of the investigation undertaken by the United States and the Complaint filed in this case,” lawyers for the government wrote.

The agreement “creates a foundation to protect the civil rights of all Portlanders, particularly those who live with mental illness,” they said.

“The goal of this litigation—to ensure that the Portland Police Bureau (“PPB”) has adequate policies, procedures, training, and accountability in place so that encounters with people with mental illness are constitutional—will be achieved through the implementation of the Agreement.

“Approval of this Agreement will ensure that there is a roadmap for sustainable reform.”

The judge had asked the city and justice department to address 13 questions raised by the hearing. Tuesday’s filing is a response to that request.

Among the community requests are that all parties be required to brief the court every six months and that the city and police alter the 48-hour rule, which requires investigators to wait before interviewing officers involved in deadly force incidents.

The judge could announce a decision at a hearing he has scheduled for March 24

The court has posted links to the complaint filed by the Justice Department, the proposed settlement and the transcript of the two hearing on its website.