Mayor Charlie Hales said this morning a deal between the city and the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition over the U.S. Department of Justice's mandated reforms is near.
In a press release, the mayor's office played up the deal, which it says may be finalized within two weeks, and downplayed the fact that negotiations between the city and the Portland Police Association have stalled.
In September 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a report that found a "pattern and practice" of city police using excessive force against the mentally ill. On Nov. 14, 2012, under threat of a lawsuit by the DOJ, the City Council approved a settlement that included mandated reforms to use of force and supervision, and called for the re-establishment of a Crisis Intervention Team.
The police union argued the settlement affected working conditions under its contract.
But the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition said the DOJ settlement failed to adress long-standing concerns about police use of force against people of color.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon
is overseeing the negotiations, which have been held privately.
The Portland Police Association sent out a statement Monday morning as well, saying its negotiations with the city have failed. PPA President Officer Daryl Turner says the union is open to the DOJ reforms, but not at the cost of officer safety.
"The failure was not due to lack of effort by the Portland Police Association," the statement says. "We have spent countless hours working in good faith with the other parties to resolve our collective bargaining issues in a manner that would have ensured a prompt and extremely cost effective implmentation of policy changes."
Turner adds the city and the DOJ must "set aside their differences with us."
"Until the parties come to a resolution, everyone suffers," the statement ends. "The community, the city, the police bureau and the rank and file officers who serve the city of Portland and its communities."
Hales was briefed Friday by city attorneys.
“We can’t talk about details, in that these are confidential mediations," Hales says in a statement. "We are pleased to continue moving forward with the AMA Coalition. As for the PPA, we have areas of agreement and areas of disagreement, and we’re working with the court to give us direction on the path forward.”
Hales spokesman Dana Haynes tells WW
that top police aide Baruti Artharee
—in hot water
over alleged sexually suggestive comments he made to County Commissioner Loretta Smith last week at a public event—is not directly involved in the negotiations.
Hales says Simon is expected to address the results of the mediation soon. “We’re waiting to find out what the next steps are,” Hales said. “The judge will tell us how to move forward.”
A call to the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition was not immediately returned.