Hales' Office Says They're Working on Finalizing Deal on Police Union DOJ Lawsuit

Portland Police Association says that's news to them

Mayor Charlie Hales' office says the city and its police union are working to finalize a deal on mandated U.S. Department of Justice findings on police use of force and oversight.

Sources tell WW that a memorandum of understanding would strike a bargain between the city, the Portland Police Association and the DOJ on critical changes required by the DOJ, including on use of force and creating a standardized discipline matrix. A press conference announcing the deal could come as soon as Monday, when Hales returns to the city from a trip to China.

"We're working on making something like that happen," Hales spokesman Dana Haynes says. "There's a lot of moving pieces and it's not all together."

But PPA President Daryl Turner says he hasn't heard anything from Hales about a press conference or a deal.

"Several times I thought we were close (to a deal) through the year," Turner says. "I don't know what close means anymore. Close to them and close to us means two different things."

The DOJ last year issued a scathing report saying Portland Police have a "pattern and practice" of using excessive force against the mentally ill. Shortly after the investigation, the city signed an agreement to make reforms required by the DOJ, with the threat of a lawsuit hanging over the city if it wasn't able to make the changes.

That happened this summer, when U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon said he'd likely set a trial date for 2014 to argue whether or not Portland's cops have actually engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive force.

An agreement would keep a lot of details about police use of force out of the public eye.

But Turner says any word of a deal is "news to me."

"Things are always getting close," he says. "I don't know what (the mayor's) thoughts are on that."

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