In an email sent today, community groups—including the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Unite Oregon and the Albina Ministerial Alliance—are pushing Portland City Council to finish the work of withdrawing city government from the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
City Council had specified in the decision to withdraw that they'd pass a policy for future interactions with federal law enforcement in 55 days.
The community groups note they sent their letter after the deadline had passed and called for a policy that would limit the Portland Police Bureau's involvement in terrorism investigations.
They also wrote they want a policy that "requires annual reports which include how often the PPB is asked to, and how many times PPB agrees to, work with the JTTF; and calls for the Bureau to draft a Directive (policy) outlining how such investigations will be handled, to be reviewed and approved by Council, with no changes allowed without public and Council review."
City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who led the effort to withdraw from the JTTF, released a statement supporting the community groups' effort.
"When city council voted to remove Portland from the Joint Terrorism Task Force Portlanders believed we would do so fully," says Hardesty in a statement. "I echo the community's concerns and wholeheartedly support their recommendations. Any policy that erodes the spirit of the resolution violates the community's trust in us to deliver on that promise."
Full letter below.
Mayor Wheeler and members of City Council:
Tuesday, April 9 marked 55 days since the passage of the Resolution to pull Portland Police officers out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
That day was set as a deadline under binding City policy for the Mayor's office and Chief to work with Commissioner Hardesty on language describing how the PPB will interact with the FBI's JTTF in the future.*
We are hoping to see a second resolution which:
–limits the ways in which the PPB can get involved with FBI terrorism investigations, as defined by federal law and the JTTF's mission statement, including strict adherence to Oregon law and City policy and the requirement for a criminal nexus;
–addresses the concerns that the City cannot tell the FBI what to do;
–requires annual reports which include how often the PPB is asked to, and how many times PPB agrees to work with the JTTF;
–calls for the Bureau to draft a Directive (policy) outlining how such investigations will be handled, to be reviewed and approved by Council, with no changes allowed without public and Council review.
All of this seems to be in line with the Resolution that was passed after overwhelming testimony in favor on February 13. Please do not delay the implementation of the withdrawal any further. The organizations representing labor, faith, social justice, immigrant rights, environmental, African American, Asian American, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, business and other communities who urged Council to take responsibility for the actions of our police are counting on you to follow through with the promises made for a just and accountable Bureau.
ACLU of Oregon
Albina Ministerial Alliance
Coalition for Justice and Police Reform
NAACP Portland Branch
Peace and Justice Works
League of Women
Voters of Portland
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
Portland Jobs with Justice
Portland Democratic Socialists of America
Veterans For Peace Chapter 72
Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance
Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland
Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition
Freedom to Thrive
Portland Peace Action Group of the First Unitarian Church
Network Against Racism and Islamophobia
Pacific Green Party
St. Luke Lutheran Peace & Justice Group
Individuals For Justice
Kafoury & McDougal