TPM Reader JV reminds us of this 2014 letter from the Department of Justice to the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department which touches on the issue of officer identification.
Officers wearing name plates while in uniform is a basic component of transparency and accountability. It is a near-universal requirement of sound policing practices and required under some state laws. Allowing officers to remain anonymous when they interact with the public contributes to mistrust and undermines accountability. The failure to wear name plates conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity. Further, the lack ofname plates makes it difficult or impossible for members of the public to identify officers if they engage in.misconduct, or for police departments to hold them accountable.
From an article in the Times we learn today that President Trump importuned his Ambassador to the United Kingdom to get the UK government to hold the British Open at his struggling Golf Resort in Turnberry, Scotland. It is hardly the worst act of corruption or criminality by this President or those who work for him over the last three and a half years. It is most notable for the sheer casual brazenness of the President’s corruption and the fact that we are only hearing about it two and a half years later. It wasn’t a secret. Numerous diplomatic staffers at the US Embassy knew about it. It was reported back to State Department. It was apparently part of an Inspector General’s review that has never been released.
I wanted to let you know that you can now use ApplePay for TPM memberships. Personally I find this very helpful whenever I try to sign up or subscribe to something on mobile because putting in a credit card number is just unwieldy on my iPhone. In any case, that’s now an option if you prefer it. As always, today is a great day to become a member if you haven’t already. Just click here.
Before we get to far into the day’s news I wanted to recommend to you this article about Portland. It’s by Robert Evans writing in Bellingcat, a publication/collaborative I’m most familiar with for their crowd-sourced forensics out of conflict zones on the periphery of the former Soviet Union. TPM Reader RK flagged the piece to our attention.
What makes the piece so good and worth your while is the density and lucidness of the reporting. Evans has been on scene reporting on the protests since the very beginning in May, seemingly every single day right in the protests themselves. The reporting is both vivid and dispassionate while also being clearly engaged. I’ve tried to touch on some of the broad dynamics of this story. Here you have it way down to the particulars, with a richness of detail that is both literary and deeply informative. You may or may not agree with Evans’ perspective. But like all good writing you’ll come away knowing much more regardless.
Here’s one amazing passage …
Fascinating update here from TPM Reader JW on the Portland situation and the structure of the city government itself …
This pertains to your “More from Portland #2“.
From TPM Reader AR on how Trump “decided to throw a hand grenade into my city so that he could do a test run on his reelection platform of looking tough by having federal riot police beat up my neighbors.”
I don’t have any searing insight into city government or high-level local politics as the previously published anonymous readers. Instead, I’d like to just briefly expand upon what reader NM wrote.
I’m a fairly progressive liberal. A Warren liberal, though, rather than a Bernie liberal. I work ten minutes from the Federal Courthouse. I live five minutes from the police union headquarters. If you live anywhere in inner Portland, you are effectively living “ten minutes” from everything. That’s just a byproduct of our intentionally dense city planning (stretching back decades). This proximity leads to a general awareness of most things that occurring here in any given moment.
From TPM Reader RK …
Like NM, I haven’t been to the protests (I’m a bit too old for this, having spent some of my youth canvasing for Tom Hayden on the other coast, running from John Mitchell and hanging out with the great Eqbal Ahmad [one of the Harrisburg 8]). But I have been following closely on various Twitter feeds from the marvelous journalists embedded with the resistance (Zane Sparling @PDXzane, Cory Elia @TheRealCoryElia, Everton Bailey Jr. @EvertonBailey, Donovan “It was the blurst of times” Farley @DonovanFarley, Lindsey Smith (she/her) @LindseyPSmith7, Tuck Woodstock @tuckwoodstock, Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) @IwriteOK . . . .). I agree with both your anonymous reader from 10 blocks out and with NM (there’s a long history of division and conflict in Portland, and the Feds have really screwed our chances for real police reform, at least in the short run). A couple of additional thoughts:
Pretty predictably the presence of federal forces in Portland and widespread news coverage of the same has triggered big increases in the size of the crowds protesting each night near the federal court house. I’ve had a hard time getting a clear read of the crowd size, other than thousands compared to hundreds or fewer little more than a week ago. But a dramatically larger group of people were out last night, with a heavy presence self-identified “moms” and “dads” joining.
TPM Reader NM checks in with his take from Portland …
For what it’s worth, here’s some perspective from a non-anarchist, protest-sympathizing, typical-liberal Portlander. I get out to a protest of some sort every couple of years, but I stand with the mellow hippy contingent, and I feel liberal guilt because I’ve only been to one BLM protest since George Floyd was killed. So that should give a sense of where I’m coming from on this.
First, you need to be aware of JoAnn Hardesty, a long time police reform activist and now the first black woman to be elected to our small and very oddly constituted city council. Earlier in her term council voted down her package of mild Police reforms, but since the protests began she has started to make some progress. The unprecedented wave of awareness and support in the city may give Hardesty a unique opportunity to do amazing things to transform policing in Portland. The real possibility of meaningful change, enacted now, not punted until after the election, raises the stakes and the urgency.
This TPM Reader who we’ll keep anon even for initials gives what I think is helpful context for the larger situation in Portland …
As a resident who lives 10 blocks from the conflict zone and has long involvement with some of the actors involved I share observations regarding contextual dimensions of current turmoil:
Recent confrontations in downtown Portland and intervention by federal agents capture our attention but obscure broader, extended tensions that shape immediate developments. There have been a series of fatal encounters between Portland police and our minority communities, and these overlie an array of violent responses to people who are mentally ill. These stretch over several years so the George Floyd murder and similar events came not as shocks but as a renewed provocation. This accounts for the persistence and commitment of many Portland protestors. Ironically Portland police and demonstrators have in many respects work out informal “rules of engagement”to reduce property damage, injuries, and arrests only to have federal forces provoke renewed violence, presumably in their effort to dominate the streets.