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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Report: Portland Police officers who use force evade accountability

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024   

A new report says the Portland Police Bureau is obscuring information on officers who use excessive force on the job. Researchers with the organization Ctrl+Alt+Defund investigated use of force data between 2017 and 2023 through public records requests and found only a few officers account for many of these incidences. The highest rate was from Officer Damien Dale, who used force 23 times in 2023. The average for officers that year was 2.7.

Sarah Hamid, lead Portland organizer with Freedom to Thrive, said her group supported the research.

"What this report was able to validate was that not only is this violence happening, but this violence is happening in a concentrated way from certain officers who are known to police leadership," she explained.

Under an Oregon law passed in 2021, Portland Police are required to provide the name of officers upon request. The bureau keeps a use of force dashboard, but officers are identified with a randomly generated number rather than their badge number. In an email responding to the report, Sergeant Kevin Allen said the use of force occurs in a small number of cases - less than half of 1% of all calls - and that disparities occur because some officers work in busier areas than others.

Hamid said despite the dashboard the Portland Police Bureau provides, a lot of work was required to identify officers who use force excessively.

"This should be something that's publicly accessible and constantly accessible because this is the kind of transparency that allows individuals who have been victimized by these officers to seek retribution and justice," Hamid explained.

Hamid added rather than investing in training for officers who use force, the city should listen to the people who have been victimized by these officers.

"Do what those communities have been asking for, which is start funding public resources and services so that people's living conditions can improve," Hamid continued. "That needs to be where all of the money from the city's coffers is going right now - not towards more violent policing."

Disclosure: Freedom to Thrive contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice, Immigrant Issues, LGBTQIA Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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