Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell urged all cops and non-uniformed employees working for the Portland Police Bureau to stop spreading the dubious claim that their crime-fighting hands are tied by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt.
There is zero chance this is a “dubious” claim. Schmidt has been incredibly weak on crime and multiple times has refused to prosecute cases that should be.
The warning came in a bureau-wide memo sent May 4 and obtained this week by The Oregonian/OregonLive. In it, Lovell wrote that he routinely receives reports from city residents who are disappointed by their interactions with Portland police officers.
“Many times, these people are supporters of police, but feel disheartened by their encounter,” Lovell wrote. “A common theme is that officers are telling complainants that there is absolutely nothing they can do for them, or that the problem is the result of someone else’s decisions.”
“What is completely unacceptable is telling a community member that you will not take police action because the District Attorney refuses to prosecute cases,” the chief continued. “This undermines our relationship with criminal justice partners and sends the message to the community that the system is unresponsive to their needs.”
Even though the police are correct—the DA won’t prosecute crimes and the system is unresponsive—it doesn’t mean officers should be saying so, especially on the job.
…Multnomah County voters overwhelmingly elected Schmidt, who ran as a progressive prosecutor focused on criminal justice reform, in May 2020. Yet he quickly alienated some Portlanders, as well as rank-and-file police officers, after he announced his office would not prosecute people arrested on non-violent misdemeanor charges during the city’s convulsive — and often destructive — racial justice protests.
Strange. I thought the such claims were “dubious.”