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Feds: Portland, Ore., police use excessive force

Associated Press Modified: September 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm •  Published: September 13, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal investigators on Thursday announced the results of an investigation into Portland police practices, determining that officers use excessive force against mentally ill people in violation of their civil rights.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez said the Justice Department and the city have reached a preliminary agreement on improvements, such as increased training, expedited investigations and increased community oversight of the reforms.

The agency opened its investigation in June 2011 to examine whether Portland police engaged in a "pattern or practice" of excessive force after a series of police shootings, many involving the mental ill, over the previous 18 months.

Perez said Portland's mayor and police chief cooperated with the investigation.

Federal officials have conducted similar reviews in other states. Seattle officials recently reached a deal with the Department of Justice, agreeing to court oversight and independent monitoring of the city's police department.

The issue of how police deal with the mentally ill has been a topic for years in Portland.

The DOJ announced its Portland investigation in the aftermath of the death of Aaron Campbell, an unarmed man who was fatally shot by officers who responded to a call that he was threatening suicide.

Another prominent case involved the death James Chasse Jr., a mentally ill man who died after he was chased and tackled by officers after he was said to have urinated in public in 2006.


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