2/23/23 News Update


<<In January 2022, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced the city had discovered an offensive meme in police training materials.

The discovery of the meme, which depicts violence against protesters and is affiliated with the far-right movement, ignited a firestorm.

Now, more than a year later, the Portland Police Bureau is disciplining the officer it suspects of having added “The Prayer of the Alt-Knight” meme to the presentation. Sgt. Jeffrey McDaniel has been suspended 100 hours without pay.

McDaniel strenuously denied the allegation. “I wouldn’t have put it in there, and I wouldn’t have authorized it to be put in there,” he told investigators.

But he was in charge of the Rapid Response Team training, and the earliest copy of the presentation found by the bureau on its servers was last saved by him. He admitted he may have shared the meme in a text to his father at the time.

The presentation, entitled “Disturbance History Crowd Dynamics,” was from 2015 and was used as recently as 2018 in Oregon Basic Rapid Response Team training. The 50-member RRT resigned en masse in 2021 following the indictment of a fellow officer for striking a protester.

When Cmdr. Craig Dobson confronted McDaniel in 2018 after seeing the meme being presented at training, McDaniel told him the meme was included “for humor,” Dobson said.

The bureau initially proposed firing McDaniel for the offense.

But, Police Chief Chuck Lovell noted, “I believe that you understand the significant harm caused by allowing this meme.”

And McDaniel’s union, the Portland Police Association, argued that although McDaniel was “responsible for not catching the fact that the meme was included in the slide deck, the evidence did not prove that [he] added the meme to it,” according to a disciplinary letter dated Feb. 21 and signed by Lovell, Wheeler and McDaniel.

Ultimately, Lovell concluded, “it is more likely than not that you added the meme to the slide deck,” and suspended him.

PPA president Sgt. Aaron Schmautz tells WW he is still reviewing the letter and could not comment.

The letter cites a 2018 Willamette Week story that reported activists suspected police officers of holding sympathies for right-wing protesters. The discovery of the “dirty hippy” meme affirmed those suspicions.

McDaniel has been the subject of several lawsuits, most famously after being caught on camera pepper spraying a protester in the mouth.

“Putting this meme in the training document absolutely destroyed the city of Portland’s ability to discuss the amount of professional training officers received in crowd management theory and techniques without having to simultaneously defend why such a professional team would allow this sort of inappropriate material into their documents,” Lovell noted.>>



<<Nicholas Chappelle spent nearly a year at Snake River Correctional Institution after he was arrested and convicted for driving with a suspended license.

But he never should have spent a day behind bars.

Chappelle is one of untold numbers of Oregonians stopped by police, arrested, put in jail and even wrongfully convicted based on faulty DMV information — a breakdown in record-keeping that has existed for years but the state never fixed.

By the time a Columbia County prosecutor realized Chappelle was innocent, he had lost his job as a union ironworker and missed the birth of his son while held at the medium-security prison in eastern Oregon, far from his family in Scappoose.

Chappelle never questioned the charge, having relied on his defense lawyer, the prosecutor and state records. He even pleaded guilty to the felony.

His case highlights a major flaw in how the state Department of Transportation’s Driver & Motor Vehicle Services Division records license suspensions resulting from criminal convictions: The DMV essentially marks suspensions as indefinite and keeps them on someone’s record forever. It has no system in place to consistently show when suspensions end.

The DMV has improperly recorded approximately 3,000 driver’s licenses in the last two decades as suspended indefinitely through either 12/31/9999 or 00/00/0000, according to data obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive through a public records request.

The DMV enters the placeholder “end” date because the suspensions, by state law, don’t take effect until after someone has completed a prison or jail sentence. The agency has relied on each person convicted to send them a form once released from custody to start the clock running on their individual suspensions, but that rarely happens. Prison and jail officials haven’t been providing the forms to people released from custody, unaware who faced potential license suspensions.

As a result, the DMV records don’t get updated, which misleads police who rely on them when they do quick checks of driver’s licenses during traffic stops.

The DMV has no idea how many people have been charged and prosecuted because of the erroneous records, but DMV administrator Amy Joyce acknowledges the problem has gone unaddressed for years.

It appears DMV officials learned of the lapse at some point in the past, Joyce said. But it’s not clear exactly when and it “wasn’t at a high enough level to understand the urgency” to figure out a remedy, she told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Prosecutors in the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Justice Integrity Unit zeroed in on the problem last summer and have tried to alert police agencies, sheriff’s offices and prosecutors across the state. State lawmakers also are considering fixes.

In Multnomah County alone, deputy district attorneys so far have identified more than 30 driving-while-suspended cases in which they have concerns about the “integrity” of a conviction or arrest based on bad DMV records, said Kelley Rhoades, a senior deputy district attorney in the unit.

It was the Multnomah County unit that flagged Chappelle’s wrongful conviction. So far, the unit has identified five other erroneous arrests and convictions.

Unwarranted traffic stops, arrests and prosecutions are “incredibly damaging to the legitimacy of the criminal justice system,” Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said.

“When people figure out that people are wrongfully convicted it really shakes the trust that the community puts in us.”

Viktoria Lo, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney, said a conviction for driving with a suspended license can “trigger a lot of harsh consequences down the line,” including getting stopped, searched and arrested.

“Folks stand to lose their jobs, custody of their children and their whole reputation if they go to prison,” she said.

They often don’t know that the suspension is in error or that their license could be reinstated, she said.

“There are cases of people spending months in prison for a suspension that the police, district attorney and court did not realize was invalid,” Lo said.

“The whole system,” she said, “is relying on the DMV to get it right.”>>

<<Meanwhile, several district attorney’s offices have started their own audits of their felony driving-while-suspended cases.

In Washington County, District Attorney Kevin Barton said his office’s Conviction Integrity Committee is almost done with an initial review of 155 cases going back five years and so far hasn’t identified any erroneous prosecutions.

His prosecutors, though, over the years have been trained to double-check suspension records by going back through court files to verify lengths of court-ordered suspensions before filing new charges, he said.

In Clackamas County, Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Owen said his office also has recognized for years that the DMV’s license suspension information is frequently incorrect and so trains prosecutors to check underlying court records for valid suspension dates.

In Multnomah County, the 30 arrests and convictions deemed questionable and the six found in error were discovered in an audit that so far has looked at 750 of more than 2,000 felony license suspension cases under review, Rhoades said. That’s how the wrongful Columbia County conviction of Chappelle, who has had prior convictions in Multnomah County, was discovered.

Auxier, Columbia County’s district attorney, said once the Multnomah County unit alerted him to Chappelle’s mistaken conviction, he went into his office on a Saturday and reviewed all license suspension cases that resulted in a prison term. Then he assigned other prosecutors to examine additional cases that resulted in jail sentences going back to 2016 and others that were still pending.

So far, his office has caught one other case – right before the 26-year-old man involved, Casey Dewrell Austin of Scappoose, was set to be sentenced to a year and three months in prison for felony driving while suspended.

His story was similar to Chappelle’s: He pleaded guilty and didn’t realize his earlier five-year license suspension had expired when he was charged.

While prosecutors have more time to check records before pursuing a case, “officers in the field really are at the mercy of what’s on the DMV record” that pops up on their mobile computers, Auxier said. Police see a quick DMV summary that indicates if someone’s license is suspended, not the expiration date of a suspension.

If police are relying on the misleading DMV records, people are likely facing arrest, and at the very least, overnights in jail, he said.

Sentences for a felony driving-while-suspended conviction can range from 10 months in jail to two and a half years in prison, prosecutors said.

DMV spokesperson Michelle D. Godfrey said the state agency is “working to be notified quickly of a person’s release from incarceration so our records accurately reflect the length of suspension.” That process is still being worked out with the corrections department.>>

<<Jesse James West spent nearly five months in Portland’s Inverness Jail before he was released last week, another victim of the state’s sloppy record-keeping.

West, now 23, had been convicted of fourth-degree vehicular assault after a hit-and-run crash. He was sentenced to probation and his license suspended for a year, starting Aug. 30, 2018.

More than a year later on Sept. 10, 2019, he crashed his motorcycle and ran after a Portland officer had tried to stop him for speeding on Southeast Ankeny Street east of 97th Avenue, according to court records.

Police found him in a nearby apartment and arrested him on a felony count of driving with a suspended license based on inaccurate state DMV records that showed his license remained suspended. He also was charged with eluding police.

He pleaded guilty in 2020 and received another one-year license suspension and three years of probation. By November 2020, he violated his probation and was sentenced to a year and a month in prison.

Just this month, Multnomah County prosecutor Clayton Jacobson and West’s defense lawyer alerted a judge that West had been wrongly convicted of driving while suspended from the speeding case.

“The conviction goes against the interests of justice,” says the petition to reconsider the conviction.

West now awaits a hearing for the dismissal of his felony conviction.

Police snagged Terry Schaller of Portland as he was driving to get something to eat.

A Portland officer ran the plate on his car as he pulled into a Taco Bell parking lot on Nov. 2, 2015. DMV records showed the registered owner’s driver’s license was suspended.

Police waited for Schaller, who went into the fast-food restaurant, to return to the car and pull out of the lot before they stopped his car.

Schaller was charged with driving with a suspended license. He pleaded guilty in April 2016 and that month was sentenced to two years of probation and faced another one-year suspension of his license.

But his original one-year license suspension – from a 2013 fourth-degree vehicular assault conviction – appears to have expired by then.

Schaller, now 66, didn’t know better. He hadn’t kept track of his suspension dates.

“I just figured I had it coming, you know,” he said.

He ended up spending about a week and a half in jail on the erroneous conviction after he violated his probation.

Schaller, reached recently, said he wasn’t even aware of the apparent mistake.

“Now it kind of bothers me because I absolutely hated being in custody,” he said.>>



<<With a forecast of near-freezing temperatures and heavy rain on the horizon, the city of Portland’s homelessness first response team has been ordered to stop distributing tents to people sleeping outside.

The announcement comes from Portland’s newest city commissioner, Rene Gonzalez, who oversees Portland Street Response, the burgeoning first response team focused on people experiencing homelessness or mental health issues.

In a press release sent Tuesday evening, Gonzalez said he has ordered all bureaus he oversees to temporarily suspend the distribution of both tents and tarps to members of the public. This includes the Portland Fire Bureau, which houses Portland Street Response.>>



<<A week after Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputies in Wilsonville shot a man and woman who were allegedly fleeing in a stolen car, the man remains in the hospital, according to the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office.

The district attorney identified the suspects this week as Brandon Nicholas Gilpin, 29, of Tallahassee, Florida, and Felisha Marie Cunningham, 34, of Unionville, Tennessee.

Cunningham has been charged with attempted murder.

Three Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies, each with more than 15 years of service with the agency, have been placed on administrative leave following the shooting, which is standard protocol.

They are Deputies Sam Eason, Chris O’Connor and Scott McBride.

McBride was one of three deputies who fatally shot 34-year-old Bruce Steward on Feb. 15, 2015, which the state medical examiner called a “suicide by cop.”

Officials still have not provided many basic details about what led to the bloody Valentine’s Day shooting last week, such as when and where a Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy first spotted the man and woman driving a 2006 Lincoln Town Car, which law enforcement says had been reported stolen in Rainier. An automatic license-plate reader in a marked patrol car brought the car to the attention of deputies, who tried to make a traffic stop, the district attorney said.

That’s when, according to the deputies, the man and woman fled in the car on Southwest Wilsonville Road.

At Wilsonville Road and Town Center Loop East, patrol cars rammed into the Lincoln Town Car from the front and back, according to witnesses at the scene.

Investigators allege that one of the Town Car’s occupants was armed and opened fire, but they haven’t said who fired a weapon, how many shots were fired or whether a firearm was found at the scene. No deputies were struck by gunfire, but a patrol car was hit, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

Three deputies fired back, striking the man and woman inside the Town Car, police said. The suspects were taken to a nearby hospital.

While Gilpin is still in the hospital, Cunningham has been released and was arraigned Monday in Clackamas County Circuit Court. She’s been charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Police have not said who was driving the car, but witnesses said a woman was pulled from the passenger seat.

No additional information will be publicly released until the case goes to a grand jury “in coming weeks,” Clackamas County chief deputy district attorney Chris Owen said.

The Clackamas Interagency Major Crimes Team, led by detectives from the Oregon State Police and Milwaukie Police Department, are investigating the shooting.>>



<<On handwritten grievance forms, Wilson alleged Klein sexually assaulted her during the exam the previous summer.

As it turned out, Wilson was not the only, or even the first, woman at the prison to accuse Klein of sexual assault. At least 27 women have accused him of sexual assault or harassment, OPB has reported.

But the attorneys at the Washington County District Attorney’s office, who are responsible for prosecuting crimes in the women’s prison, did not see at least half a dozen sexual abuse allegations against Klein.

State police conducted the interviews and records show they sent them on, but local prosecutors say they never received them. A spokesperson for the Washington County District Attorney’s office confirmed that Wilson’s is among the interviews prosecutors never saw.

“In a case as big as this one with as many potential victims as there are, it’s bewildering that anything could go missing, let alone interviews with victims, or witnesses or anything that would tend to establish these crimes had occurred,” Julie Abbate, a former deputy chief with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice who now works with Just Detention, a nonprofit that seeks to end sexual abuse in detention.

Women at Coffee Creek believe their accusations were treated with less urgency by local law enforcement because they were women convicted of crimes. That is a pattern that repeats across the country, as thousands of substantiated cases of sexual abuse go unpunished.

Nationally, there were 2,229 substantiated incidents of staff sexually assaulting or harassing people in custody between 2016 and 2018, according to a U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report released in January. That means investigators determined the incidents occurred.

Prison employees were arrested in about one-third of the cases brought against them. But just 6% of cases led to a legal punishment like a guilty plea, a conviction or even a fine.

“You can’t be more mistreated in a prison than being raped by staff,” Abbate said. “There’s nothing more egregious than sexual abuse of someone when they’re in custody. And there’s no excuse.”

And yet, Klein has never been tried in state court to determine whether he’s guilty of the more than two dozen accusations against him. Instead, the state appears to have failed — first to protect the incarcerated women from alleged abuse by a state employee and then to make sure local prosecutors had all the evidence needed to hold him accountable. With no charges against him, Klein continued to work as a nurse for roughly four years after Wilson and the other women leveled their accusations.>>

<<Records show there was little, if any, communication between investigators and prosecutors after the first stack of Oregon State Police interviews with alleged victims was turned over in March 2018.

That summer, local prosecutors decided not to bring criminal charges against Klein. Explaining their decision, Washington County prosecutors noted a lack of DNA evidence and conflicting accounts about Klein’s anatomy from women who say Klein assaulted them. They also write that a few other women say Klein was set up.>>

<<The second stack of interviews, which included Wilson’s account, wasn’t sent to prosecutors until January of 2019. But there was no communication between the state police and the county prosecutors about this additional evidence. To this day, the prosecutors in the Washington County DA’s office say they never received it.

“If we had received additional reports, we would have re-evaluated our 2018 charging decision to determine whether criminal charges could be filed,” Stephen Mayer, a now former spokesperson for the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement last year.

But they didn’t. Klein never faced local charges. Instead, he resigned from the state prison system in early 2018 and got a new job at one of Legacy Health’s hospitals in the Portland area.

Initially, the Oregon Nursing Board moved in June 2019 to revoke Klein’s license because he lied to the board about having been under investigation. But by June 2020, the board agreed to let Klein keep practicing and issued a $2,500 fine and reprimand instead. In its decision, the board notes that Washington County prosecutors did not file charges because their case lacked evidence.

Last March, attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice did what local prosecutors have not. They charged him. Federal prosecutors unsealed a 25-count indictment, charging Klein with sexually assaulting 12 women at Coffee Creek. Federal prosecutors alleged Klein deprived the women of their right to not face cruel and unusual punishment, a protection afforded under the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

FBI agents and federal prosecutors used the Oregon State Police investigation to inform their investigation, according to a statement announcing the indictment. That includes some of the interviews local prosecutors never saw. Wilson said she spoke to the FBI about her assault and has continued to receive updates about the federal criminal case. Another woman who spoke to OPB had a similar story>>

<<As part of an internal investigation, the Oregon Department of Corrections Office of Inspector General had a nurse manager review S’s medical files. They confirm Klein saw S once for an appointment related to cancer treatment in August 2017 and another for an injection in September 2017. But investigators said they were unable to “show definitively” if Klein sexually assaulted S. Or anyone else for that matter.

For 26 of the 27 women who reported Klein, the prison’s investigators found their allegations “unsubstantiated.” That means that in 96% of cases, prison officials were unable to determine what happened.

In the only instance where investigators made a determination, they found the allegations were “unfounded.” Yet, the state paid $290,000 to settle a civil lawsuit brought in that case, the largest single amount paid to settle the slew of civil rights litigation brought against Klein and the Department of Corrections.>>

<<In all, Oregon has paid $1.87 million to settle 11 civil lawsuits tied to Klein’s behavior, including $150,000 to settle Wilson’s case last March. As part of the settlements, the state admitted no fault.

During the civil litigation, Klein was deposed by the women’s attorneys under oath. Klein denied knowing Wilson or S or having any sexual contact with either of them, forced or otherwise.

“I have never sexually touched Ms. Wilson,” Klein said. “I don’t even really remember who Ms. Wilson is.”

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged Klein with perjury. As part of its criminal case, federal prosecutors say Klein lied under oath about having sexual contact with women at Coffee Creek, “when he knew at that time that, in fact, he had engaged in sexual vaginal intercourse with at least one incarcerated adult while employed with the Oregon Department of Corrections.”>>



<<A new report from the Oregon Justice Resource Center highlights what they claim would be the highly negative impacts if Portland implements the gunshot detection technology known as “ShotSpotter.”

Recently city leaders opened up a competitive bidding process that would potentially bring a gunshot detection pilot program to the city.

A new report argues it’s a tool that brings an increased police presence to neighborhoods with little to show for it in the end.

FOX 12 spoke to one of the authors tonight, Amanda Lamb with the OJRC who told us ShotSpotter and other programs like it put civil rights at risk for the community members. Lamb says data on its use in other cities shows officers use gunshot detections as a means to be heavy-handed in enforcement and perform unconstitutional searches.

Lamb says it could also compromise privacy because the microphones that record continuously can pick up street-level noise including conversations, which lambs says is a violation of Oregon law that requires two-party consent “It’s not effective at actually helping improve community safety in any way shape or form so other jurisdictions that have implemented ShotSpotter have found no increase in arrest no increase in case closures and no decrease in homicide or gun-related violence,” Lamb says. “What they do see is a significant increase in police workload.”

Lamb says Portland police response times have slowed in recent years and this would overload an already overburdened and unstaffed department.>>