George Floyd/National Protests

ThunderHorse

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Just another night in Paradise



Antifa militants set fires, attack police building in Portland as Democratic senators insist they don't exist

Op-Ed from Portland PD Chief in the NY Times: Opinion | I’m the Police Chief in Portland. Violence Isn’t the Answer.

After the horrendous killing of George Floyd, people in Portland, Ore., joined with thousands across the country in demonstrations to address police reform and widespread systemic racism. The leaders of the Portland Police Bureau denounced this tragic death, and we reiterated our willingness to engage in reforms.

But Portland has now faced weeks of extreme difficulties and drew intense national attention after federal officers were deployed here.

As police officers, our duty is to uphold the rights of anyone to assemble peacefully and engage in free speech. But over the months of protests, a concerning dynamic developed. People protested peacefully, while others engaged in dangerous activities that could have resulted in injury and even death.

The night of May 29 was a pivotal moment for our city. Hundreds of people, in a coordinated effort, attacked the Justice Center, which includes our Central Precinct station and the Multnomah County Detention Center. They broke into the building, destroyed the first-floor interior and lit fires. Afterward, there was looting and destruction downtown.

Yet in the following weeks, thousands of people demonstrated peacefully in an awesome expression of First Amendment rights. The Police Bureau had little to no interaction with members of this group, because they did not allow criminal activity to impede their message.

As a Black man and a public servant, I have a unique perspective. I agree with a local pastor, E.D. Mondainé, who stated these “spectacles” are drowning out the voices that need to be heard to make positive change. This violence is doing nothing to further the Black Lives Matter movement.

On one night, for example, individuals screwed the doors of our North Precinct station shut, barricaded other entrances and lit the station on fire with people inside. Nearby businesses, owned by people of color, were damaged and looted. On other nights, there were multiple attempts to breach the Justice Center. Other law enforcement facilities were targeted, including the union building, which was broken into and had fires set within.

Violence and destruction have also been directed at the federal courthouse, which sits next to the Justice Center. The president sent additional federal agents to Portland, and our city became national news.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/31/books/review/the-system-robert-reich-break-em-up-zephyr-teachout.html?action=click&algo=top_conversion&block=editors_picks_recirc&fellback=true&imp_id=621378114&impression_id=8472e091-d72e-11ea-a701-3f8f0cff67ba&index=1&pgtype=Article®ion=ccolumn&req_id=431730387&surface=home-featured&action=click&module=editorContent&pgtype=Article®ion=CompanionColumn&contentCollection=Trending
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/04/books/review/life-of-a-klansman-edward-ball.html?action=click&algo=top_conversion&block=editors_picks_recirc&fellback=true&imp_id=328682430&impression_id=8472e092-d72e-11ea-a701-3f8f0cff67ba&index=2&pgtype=Article®ion=ccolumn&req_id=431730387&surface=home-featured&action=click&module=editorContent&pgtype=Article®ion=CompanionColumn&contentCollection=Trending
Gov. Kate Brown recently negotiated an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to remove federal agents in stages and have them replaced by Oregon State Police. The governor acknowledged that this might not be the end of the violence. I hope she is wrong.

Portland is a beautiful and vibrant city with smart, progressive people, and I am hopeful we can come together to move beyond the unrest and refocus on critical issues.

The Portland Police Bureau remains committed to protecting life and responding to events as appropriate. I am proud of our efforts in extreme circumstances few in the country have faced. During these events, our agency has responded to assaults, stabbings, shootings, people with guns and the stockpiling of explosives. Shooting off commercial-grade fireworks and mortars is not peaceful protest. We are fortunate that no one has been killed.

There are those who say the Portland police have not done enough to quell violence. I ask them to come speak with our officers, who have been responding for two months to protests. They have served with professionalism, courage and resiliency through an extraordinary time. Many have been injured and some have received threats of violence to themselves or their families. They would prefer to return to regular patrol and investigative duties and see peace in our community.

The voices of victims are not heard as well. Because of the protests, officers have not been able to respond to 911 calls or have been delayed for hours. Investigators’ cases lie on their desks as they work nights to process arrests. We have seen an alarming increase in shootings and homicides. We need to redirect our focus to preventing and solving these crimes that are taking a hugely disproportionate number of minority lives.

I have said frequently that the Portland Police Bureau is committed to reform. We are a progressive agency and have demonstrated our willingness to change over the past eight years. Working with the Department of Justice, we have made significant changes to our policies and training. The Portland Police Bureau’s policy on the use of deadly force is more restrictive than state and federal law.

We recently enhanced our Community Engagement Unit to help build trust and legitimacy with the communities we serve. We have also developed several advisory councils that help the Police Bureau make decisions with the benefit of a diverse set of inputs.

The Portland Police Bureau has had an equity and inclusion office for over five years. I recently changed the organizational structure to have it report directly to me, to ensure we are prioritizing its work.

I have confidence in our community and the people who have dedicated their lives to building relationships with police. They have stood up and said no more violence. I stand with them with a servant’s heart, committed to being leaders in police reform.

Chuck Lovell is the chief of the Police Bureau in Portland, Ore.
 

R.Caerbannog

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Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
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Marauder06

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So I was reading up on the "gag order" issue, and had three thoughts/questions--

1) the judge dropped his gag order in part because "it wasn't working." So why have gag orders at all?

2) Why allow the body cam video to only be viewed in person? If you're going to allow the public to view it, why not make it publicly available? You HAD to know that it was going to get leaked...

3) Hiring local (civilian) attorneys to prosecute the case... isn't prosecution kind of, you know, an "inherently governmental function?" I assume that this is not uncommon, or at least not unprecedented, but it doesn't sit right with me. My last tour in Iraq, in ~2009, we were directed to switch over all of our contract interrogators to GS, because interrogation (of foreign enemy combatants) was an "inherently governmental function." OK fine. But if that's the case, shouldn't it be even more true of prosecutions of American citizens inside the US? related reading
 

DA SWO

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So I was reading up on the "gag order" issue, and had three thoughts/questions--

1) the judge dropped his gag order in part because "it wasn't working." So why have gag orders at all?

2) Why allow the body cam video to only be viewed in person? If you're going to allow the public to view it, why not make it publicly available? You HAD to know that it was going to get leaked...

3) Hiring local (civilian) attorneys to prosecute the case... isn't prosecution kind of, you know, an "inherently governmental function?" I assume that this is not uncommon, or at least not unprecedented, but it doesn't sit right with me. My last tour in Iraq, in ~2009, we were directed to switch over all of our contract interrogators to GS, because interrogation (of foreign enemy combatants) was an "inherently governmental function." OK fine. But if that's the case, shouldn't it be even more true of prosecutions of American citizens inside the US? related reading
Can a non DA prosecute a case?
I thought Ellis was doing it himself?
Judge is a political hack, should have tossed Ellis in jail over a weekend to make a point.
 

Kraut783

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Appointments of special prosecutors is not uncommon, but not sure why they would in this case....sounds more political than anything else.
 

ThunderHorse

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So I was reading up on the "gag order" issue, and had three thoughts/questions--

1) the judge dropped his gag order in part because "it wasn't working." So why have gag orders at all?

2) Why allow the body cam video to only be viewed in person? If you're going to allow the public to view it, why not make it publicly available? You HAD to know that it was going to get leaked...

3) Hiring local (civilian) attorneys to prosecute the case... isn't prosecution kind of, you know, an "inherently governmental function?" I assume that this is not uncommon, or at least not unprecedented, but it doesn't sit right with me. My last tour in Iraq, in ~2009, we were directed to switch over all of our contract interrogators to GS, because interrogation (of foreign enemy combatants) was an "inherently governmental function." OK fine. But if that's the case, shouldn't it be even more true of prosecutions of American citizens inside the US? related reading
Ok, so I spoke to the boss since she's home.

Term here is "Of Counsel". The case still has to be prosecuted by the government. So if these folks that were hired Pro Bono more than likely will be a part of the research and advice team. They will be a part of prep. But they will not sit at the desk in the court room. This apparently "happens all the time".
 

Blizzard

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Can a non DA prosecute a case?
I thought Ellis was doing it himself?
Judge is a political hack, should have tossed Ellis in jail over a weekend to make a point.
FWIW, here's my somewhat rudimentary understanding and breakdown of things:

Mike Freeman - Hennepin County Attorney (Hennepin County is where Minneapolis is located): Very experienced. Filed initial charges against Chauvin only. Has jurisdiction and would normally prosecute this case, however, was basically told by the governor of MN to step aside and let MN Attorney General take lead. Supposedly his office is still assisting the AG but it's unclear what that really means.

Keith Ellison - Minnesota Attorney General: Lead prosecutor in the case against 4 officers at request of governor. Brought elevated murder charges against Chauvin and the other 3 officers. Of note, and it's been stated here previously, Ellison is first and foremost, a politician; he's a former MN State Rep to Congress for MN's 5th District (Ilhan Omar's district - her predecessor). He's not a prosecutor nor is he a courtroom attorney. At one time he held a license to practice law as some sort of civil rights attorney, but last report I saw it was not active and hadn't been for quite some time; this is not a requirement for AG's in Minnesota but speaks to his experience or lack thereof.

Judge Peter Cahill: Presiding judge over the case. Been a judge since 2007. Has prior experience both as defense attorney and prosecutor

Prosecution Team:
  • Headed by MN AG Ellison
  • The criminal division of the AG's office will handle the case under his direction; this is pretty rare - they typically aren't involved in these cases
  • Supposedly, Hennepin County Attorney's Office is providing assistance, although it's unclear what that means exactly
  • Ellison brought on 4 "experienced" pro-bono attorneys to assist, unclear exactly what their role is; no additional comment on their involvement was made at the time of the announcement "out of respect for the gag order"
Charges:
  • Chauvin: 2nd degree murder (MN Statute 609.19.2(1)), 3rd degree murder (609.195(a)), and 2nd degree manslaughter (609.205(1))
  • 3 other officers: Aiding and abetting 2nd degree murder (609.19.2(1) with reference to 609.05.1), aiding and abetting 2nd degree manslaughter (609.205(1) with reference to 609.05.1)
  • Minnesota Criminal Statutes: Ch. 609 MN Statutes

Pretrial Hearing Status:
  • Judge initially issued gag order. Defense attorneys alleged AG violated gag order almost immediately. Judge subsequently removed gag order within about a week or so with no penalty to AG
  • Judge warned attorneys on both sides about speaking publicly about the trial under threat of changing the venue; appears to be empty threat
  • Defense attorneys for a couple of the officers have requested the case against their clients be dismissed; so far, no go
  • As part of the motion for dismissal, body cam transcripts and video were filed into evidence - this made them public; defense attorneys for at least two of the officers want the video made public; as a result, court ordered video be made available to media and public by appointment only - no recordings, thus the issue with leaked video
  • Decision as to whether cameras will be allowed in courtroom remains open; prosecution opposes cameras, defense supports them
  • 3 officers are out on bail, Chauvin has bail set at $1.25M but don't believe he posted and remains in custody
  • No pleas entered at this time

Next Hearing Date: 11 Sep 20

Trial: Scheduled for 8 Mar 21; judge and prosecution assumed all 4 will stand trial together, although defense attorneys are requesting separate trials - TBD
 
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compforce

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Exactly how does it work that he's getting 2 murder charges and a manslaughter charge for one single death?
I had the same question. My best guess is that if they charge him with all three, it allows a jury to pick which one to say he's guilty of. It's not double jeopardy unless they were to find him guilty of more than one of them. If they were to only charge him with the second degree and the jury found that the evidence didn't rise to the standard, then he's acquitted and they are unable to bring another round of charges.

Personally I would say it's BS. The charge should match what they think they can get a conviction for.
 

SaintKP

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Putting on the tinfoil hat here so take this with as much salt as you'd like, but MN AG is a known supporter of Antifa, correct? What would be the easiest way to sow discourse and further increase the divide we see right now, other than to inflate the charges beyond the point where you could feasibly convict Chauvin? The vast majority of society has already made its mind up and are convinced that Chauvin is guilty, we all know what happens when Chauvin is acquitted because the chosen charges can't stick.
 

Steve1839

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Exactly how does it work that he's getting 2 murder charges and a manslaughter charge for one single death?
Based on the courts martial and jury panels I've served on, it is not uncommon for serious offenses to have lesser included charges in the event that the more serious charge(s) result in acquittal, but there was still an offense committed...I was on a rape court martial when I was a lieutenant and the lesser included charge was indecent conduct...since the act began consensually, it was difficult to convict the SM of rape, but his conduct fit the specifications for the lesser included charge...
 

compforce

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Putting on the tinfoil hat here so take this with as much salt as you'd like, but MN AG is a known supporter of Antifa, correct? What would be the easiest way to sow discourse and further increase the divide we see right now, other than to inflate the charges beyond the point where you could feasibly convict Chauvin? The vast majority of society has already made its mind up and are convinced that Chauvin is guilty, we all know what happens when Chauvin is acquitted because the chosen charges can't stick.
That's too tinfoil... Unless the AG is deeply entrenched in/with Antifa, who is going to be the very first target of any anger if Chauvin is acquitted because the charges didn't stick?
 
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