PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon lawmakers part of the People of Color Caucus, including Rep. Janelle Bynum, have called for a special session on police accountability following the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests demanding for reforming police departments all over the country.
The caucus has come up with three proposals dealing with police discipline, use of force and how cases are investigated and prosecuted.
According to Gov. Kate Brown's office, she is preparing to call a special session to discuss police reform -- and other bills.
Bynum, who was recently named the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, discussed the reforms with KGW this week, just days after a video was released of a Washington County deputy assaulting a man who was posing for a mugshot.
Albert Molina was arrested for DUII while riding his bike in 2018, and a newly released video shows Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Rian Alden attacking and slamming Molina to the ground during his jail booking.
The incident was investigated in 2018 by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police. No charges were filed at the time. Earlier this month, it was announced Alden was indicted on one count of first-degree official misconduct, a misdemeanor, in connection with the attack.
One of the proposals from Bynum's caucus is for the state attorney general to investigate all use of force cases that leave someone dead or seriously hurt. In the Washington County case, Molina was hospitalized for 19 days, including 5 days in intensive care.
"If your outcomes are fair and people have confidence in them, then we're probably in a good place. I would venture to say many people of color in this state don't feel the outcomes they're seeing [are fair]... maybe it's time to shift that to another office," Bynum said.
Bynum's caucus also wants to pass a bill making sure police officers don't get their punishment for misconduct reduced if they appeal it and they're still found guilty of doing something wrong. She says officers sometimes get payouts for doing something wrong.
Bynum told KGW she has the support from Republicans to pass these reforms.
"In years past, there wasn't necessarily enough political energy or call to action. Everyone didn't feel urgency. Now we have it. There's so much work to be done. This is just the tip of the iceberg," Bynum said.
Here's a full statement from Gov. Brown's office:
In past sessions, Gov. Brown has supported this legislation, which would create additional accountability for law enforcement in disciplinary situations, and she looks forward to signing it into law. She agrees that the Legislature should pass it in short order, and she is preparing to call a special session to take up this bill among others. The Governor is working with legislative leadership to finalize a plan and timeline for the upcoming special session, and we anticipate an announcement on that front in the next few days.
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