Police to march in support of 'beanbag cop'

Police to march in support of 'beanbag cop'

Police to march in support of 'beanbag cop'

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by Eric Adams and KGW News Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on November 25, 2009 at 11:25 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 25 at 11:25 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland's police union planned a rally on Tuesday starting at 9:45 a.m. to support Officer Christopher Humphreys and in opposition to Chief Rosie Sizer and Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

Humphreys was placed on paid leave last week after firing a beanbag shotgun round at close range into a 12-year-old girl's thigh. Previously, Humphreys had been investigated, along with other officers, for excessive use of force in the 2006 death of James Chasse.

Sgt. Scott Westerman, the president and spokesperson for the police bureau union, said he expected a few hundred cops and their family members from across metro Portland to rally in support of Humphreys.

"This affects all law enforcement. This affects public safety across the region. When a commissioner makes a political decision and disciplines an officer or suspends and officer for following his training -- this has a widespread affect," Westerman said.

Police officers will also have the opportunity this week to cast a symbolic vote of no confidence in police leadership.

Officers will receive ballots in the mail asking whether to issue a statement of no confidence in Chief Rosie Sizer and Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

Saltzman recommended that Humphreys face a two-week suspension for his role in the death of Chasse, a 42-year-old schizophrenic who died in police custody three years ago.

Commissioner Saltzman was tapped to lead the police force last year by then mayor-elect Sam Adams. Traditionally, the mayor of Portland also has overseen the police bureau.

Humphreys, already on paid administrative leave, was reportedly unavailable to comment on the shooting or face discipline because of disabling stress, the Oregonian reported last week. 

Westerman dismissed the newspaper report as biased and noted the city could discipline an officer on disability if it chose.

"The issue of going off to act as if this was a way of avoiding discipline is absolutely not true," Sgt. Westerman said. "Humphreys has indicated to me ... he will make arrangements to be interviewed because he wants to clear his name because he's done nothing wrong."

Humphreys shot the girl Nov. 7 at the NE 162nd Ave. MAX platform in Gresham. He and other officers were responding to reports of a large party that included "suspected gang members," according to a prepared statement from Chief Sizer at a Nov. 19 press conference.

A responding officer recognized the girl and believed she had been expelled from TriMet ridership, according to Sizer's statement. She resisted arrest and was subdued by a group of officers. During the altercation Humphreys shot her. The entire incident was caught on TriMet surveillance video.
Watch the raw, unedited surveillance video clips:
Clip 1 | Clip 2

Less than three months before the beanbag shooting an internal police bureau investigation cleared Humphreys of wrongdoing in Chasse's death. Internal Affairs was also to investigate the beanbag shooting incident, according to Sizer.

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