Here at CIO, staff members support a number of local, regional, and national programs and initiatives. One of the projects that I am helping out with is a Campaign to End Police Profiling in the state of Oregon. This is a campaign I can really support because of what I observed while conducting interviews for my thesis. I interviewed 20 members of the African community, most of whom were men.
As I described in my recent testimony as part of the amicus hearing during the United States Dept of Justice's investigation into the Portland Police, every single one of the black men I spoke with had experienced police profiling or abuse. It was a really sad realization for me, but was completely in line with my other observations of institutional racism throughout the city. I testified before the review commitee not only because Portland must redesign their police force to be more efficient and equitable but also because we have the chance to set an incredible positive precedent that other cities can emulate.
When you think about it, Police profiling means that whole communities are targeted and considered criminals because of who we are and what we look like. The communities' faith and trust in law enforcement crumbles with every transgression, and there have been many. CIO is supporting the End Profiling Act before Oregon legislature; it plainly defines and prohibits profiling by law enforcement based on "race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or intellectual disability, serious medical condition, income, language, political affiliation or religion ... [and also] requires all of Oregon's law enforcement to train their officers on how not to profile."This is really exciting legislation that will benefit the whole community and the police create stronger ties and will be a step towards restoring trust in the force. There has been some opposition to this Act, so CIO is collecting stories of people who have experienced police profiling and abuse.
On Friday, March 21 (next week) CIO will be hosting a Police Profiling Intake Session at the Killingsworth office from 4:00-8:00 pm. The event will be hosted in partnership with the Oregon Justice Resource Center. OJRC will provide one-on-one interviews with trained law students to document the reality faced by our communities.
Any one with an experience of police profiling or mistreatment in the Portland area is invited to come share. If you can't make this session, but still want to tell your story, don't fret! There will be more intake sessions scheduled for later in the spring and through autumn.
Click here to register to attend!
Until next time,