PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon officials have released a memo with a statement from a Portland police sergeant where he acknowledged deliberately misrepresenting the law to keep a protester from filming him and claimed other officers do the same.
The statement by Sgt. Erin Smith is part of an investigation of a complaint filed by a Benjamin Kerensa who was filming police during a demonstration over the Dakota Access Pipeline in front of Portland fuel storages facilities in November 2016, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Tuesday.
Kerensa’s complaint was investigated by the city’s Independent Police Review office.
It shared the outcome of the investigation with the Citizen Review Committee that handles citizen appeals of bureau findings on alleged police misconduct.
Smith is a 23-year Police Bureau veteran and street supervisor.
Last week, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office ordered a memo with Smith’s statement be made public since it dealt with broad policy and training issues “of serious concern to citizens overseeing the police discipline process.”
The committee has asked police administrators to prevent officers from misinforming people about their right to film police.
Anika Bent-Albert, assistant director of the review office, told police on behalf of the citizen group, that they want see that “any pervasive misunderstandings about the acceptability of this conduct are addressed immediately and decisively in officer training.”
A state law passed in 2015 allows people to video record police from a public vantage point. Portland police has enacted new policy about the rights of bystanders to record officers’ actions in public.
Police Chief Danielle Outlaw told the citizen group in December that Smith violated bureau policy by misleading Kerensa on his rights and improperly threatening to arrest him.
Smith is expected to face discipline on those grounds.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com