Wednesday, February 27, 2008

blue uniforms=adult children

perhaps this poor lady should have done her homework before deciding she wanted to be a wonderful member of 'those who uphold the law'...
from the portland mercury website:

The Thick Blue Line—Portland Cop Fired For “Snitching?”
Posted by Matt Davis on Wed, Feb 27 at 8:25 PM
A former Portland cop plans to sue the city over allegations she was terminated in retaliation for “snitching” on an officer who was supposed to be training her.

The former cop is making potentially explosive allegations against a specific officer, but more worryingly, she describes a culture of silence permeating the bureau’s culture as a whole.
SERPICO: 1973 movie about a cop ratting out his fellow officers…

Lawyers for former probationary Officer Lyndsay Hunt filed a tort claim with the city last October saying Hunt plans to sue for violations of the Oregon Whistleblower Law, ORS 659A.203, and gender discrimination law. To avoid a lawsuit they have given the city a deadline of Friday, February 29 to settle out of court.

Hunt was hired as a Portland cop on July 27, 2006, and had been on the force for approximately one year when the alleged events occurred, according to her tort claim—which the Mercury obtained this afternoon from the city’s Office of Management and Finance under the freedom of information act.

On May 23, 2007, Hunt was assigned to Northeast Precinct under a new training coach, Officer Quency Ho, after completing Portland’s 16 week “Advanced Academy” training.

New cops in Portland go through 13 weeks of state training in Salem before hitting the streets for three months with a coach. Hunt had successfully completed three months’ coaching with Officer Leslie Pintarich between October 2006 and January 2007, before completing four months of advanced academy and arriving in NE precinct with Ho.

Hunt alleges that on May 24, 2007, she and Ho responded to a call regarding a potential altercation at a residence in the area of 60th and Sandy Boulevard. Another officer was on the scene, and took the lead in talking to the neighbors who called the police, as well as to the suspect who was alone in his ground floor apartment watching television.

Based on his conversations with the neighbors and with the cooperative suspect, the other officer found a lack of probable cause and thanked the suspect for his time, according to the tort claim.

“After the suspect shut his door,” the claim continues, “Offer Ho began trying to kick the door down. Ms.Hunt stopped Officer Ho. Officer Ho then drew his firearm and walked to the side of the apartment to an open window, and pointing his gun at the suspect, demanded he unlock the front door.”

“As the suspect began unlocking the front door, Officer Ho forced upon the door and attacked the suspect, slamming him against the wall and putting him in a choke hold,” the tort claim continues. “After roughing him up for a while, Officer Ho left. There was no legal basis for this action. Ms.Hunt demanded that Officer Ho stop his illegal activity but was ignored.”

The other officer, Officer Thoman, is alleged to have remained at the scene during the entire incident, but did not enter the apartment with Officer Ho.

“Despite Ms.Hunt’s plea that Officer Ho refrain from needlessly beating up civilians and that Officer Ho, at the very least, needed to fill out a use of force report for drawing a firearm, Officer Ho responded, ‘If no one finds out, we won’t get caught. Look the other way’,” the claim continues. “Ms.Hunt was stunned by Officer Ho telling her to keep quiet about the incident.” More after the jump…

The tort claim also alleges Officer Ho refused to let Hunt hand in an accurate police report that contradicted his own “false account of the events” at another call, the following day.

Responding to a call about a suspect armed with a knife and an possible victim in a parking lot at 915 NE Schuyler, Hunt and Ho found the suspect there with his knife still extended, the claim alleges. Numerous witnesses were present, but the alleged victim had fled, leaving a bicycle behind. Hunt apprehended the knife-wielding suspect and handcuffed him, but Ho intervened.

“Since there’s no victim, there’s no crime,” Ho is alleged to have told Hunt, before telling her to leave the bicycle at the scene, and asking one of the witnesses to dispose of the knife. On returning to the station, he is alleged to have handed in the false report.

The tort claim makes several other allegations about Officer Ho, including that he took goods several times without payment from the 7-11 at NE Weidler and 3rd, and told Hunt to do the same. He is also alleged to have told Hunt she was not “manly” enough, and to have criticised her manner in dealing with one suspect, saying, “you’ve got to leave those girl emotions on the side. You’ve got to play like a boy out here.”

Ho is also alleged to have said: “It’s a boy’s world and this is a boy’s club. You’ve got to act like a boy if you’re going to survive.”

Hunt reported her concerns to the cops’ training division on Friday May 26, 2007. Sergeant Parman, a supervisor in the department, and Field Training coordinators Bill Hubner and Joe Schilling, are alleged to have responded that they “knew there was a recurring problem in Northeast Precinct because a disproportionate number of female officers either quit or were fired very soon after joining the Precinct.”

Hunt was told by Officers Hubner and Schilling to “look the other way” as to what she saw, and was told “you can have all the integrity you want in six months when you are no longer on probationary status if you keep your mouth shut,” according to the tort claim.

Hunt was then allegedly told by Hubner that she was no longer physically safe and that if she ever needed backup, no Portland Police Officer would respond for her because she was a “snitch.” Hubner allegedly told Hunt, “you started a rebellion in Northeast precinct.”

As a result, Hunt was transferred to Central Precinct on May 30, 2007. But she alleges Officer Schilling did not disagree when she told him she believed she would not be safe there either, and that he told her to turn in her badge, guns, and uniforms, and to fill out resignation paperwork to “make things official.”

Hunt alleges she was contacted by Sergeant Brumfield and Captain Hendricks, who reiterated that they hoped she would return to the force, but that to do so she would need to “look the other way” until she was no longer on probationary status.

Following Hunt’s alleged termination, her reputation as a “snitch” is alleged to have spread quickly through the police bureau because of defamatory statements made by cops, and in particular in an article in the July 2007 issue of the cop paper, the Rap Sheet.

“The article defamed Ms.Hunt, misrepresented the facts surrounding her dismissal and portrayed her in a false and negative light,” reads the tort claim.

The article, by Officer John Brogan, does not refer to Hunt by name, but alleges “a trainee at Northeast Precinct recently quit after only 3 or 4 days with her coach.” Her reasons, described by Brogan, included “such things as her coach didn’t wear his seatbelt, drove with his lights off (while looking for prowlers) and accepted a free coke from a 7-11.”

“She was clearly looking for an excuse to quit,” Brogan wrote.

Hunt’s attorney, Matthew Ellis at Kell Alterman & Runstein, has declined comment on the tort claim or on the contents of the Rap Sheet article. But police oversight activists are concerned.

“It doesn’t surprise me that there is some form of corruption in the police bureau and that officers who try to expose that corruption are told that they have to go along with it,” says Dan Handelman of activist group Portland Copwatch. “If what Ms.Hunt is alleging is true, then it’s clear that officers are not encouraged to blow the whistle, and in fact, that it is dangerous for them to do so.”

“I am surprised at the extent of the behavior she alleges—particularly the officer busting back into an apartment that another officer had cleared to point a gun at the suspect and rough him up, and then saying they weren’t going to write a report,” Handelman continues. “If that is a true allegation, then there is a serious culture of silence that needs to be addressed.”

It is against the police bureau’s policy to comment on pending litigation.