Portland Leadership Consults with Black Lives Matter on Police Contract


Staff for Portland Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Chloe Eudaly met Thursday with national Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson to strategize over the city labor contract with the Portland police officers’ union, an official in Hardesty’s office said.

According to Oregon Live, Mckesson, 33, met with the officials as part of his work managing Campaign Zero, a group that reviews police union contracts nationwide and points out what it says are policies that shield officers from accountability for misconduct.

Campaign Zero’s analysis of the Portland police contract pointed to what the group says is problematic language that restricts questioning of officers, gives officers undue access to information about investigations of which they are targets, and limits officer discipline and record keeping of misconduct.

Daryl Turner, the police union president, declined to comment.

The official in Hardesty’s office said Mckesson gave “a detailed presentation about policing, contracts, accountability and their relationship to violence.”

Also present at the meeting were members of the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, a faith-based group seeking greater police oversight.

Mckesson tweetedhis take on Thursday’s meeting to his more than 1 million Twitter followers, saying he led a talk with “activists and advocates” to “discuss avenues for structural change.”

The official in Hardesty’s office said the commissioner, who has long been an advocate for police reform, will ask Mayor Ted Wheeler to schedule a public briefing led by Mckesson. The official asked not to be named because Hardesty had not authorized the aide to speak on the record.

Wheeler’s spokeswoman, Eileen Park, said such a briefing would need to be approved by the mayor and commissioners’ chiefs of staff and no such discussion has taken place. A spokeswoman for Eudaly didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

The city’s contract with the Portland Police Association, the union representing rank-and-file officers, doesn’t expire until June 2020. Negotiations on a new contract are all but sure to draw a spotlight to City Hall, given tension between the police and public over officials’ handling of violent protests and officers’ shooting people of color or people experiencing mental illness.

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