City and Portland Police Bureau at impasse on using body cameras

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 8:43 PM PST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - If you take a look at the 75 largest police agencies in the United States, you’ll find that the Portland Police Bureau sticks out because it’s the only one that still does not have its officers equipped with body cams.

Just over 10 years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Portland, alleging a pattern of excessive force used by police against people showing signs of mental illness. The settlement agreement between the city and DOJ, now requires the use of body cams and police are on board with that -- the hold up though, is how the program will be implemented. 

One of the sticking points is prereview. The police union would like officers to be able to view their body cam footage before making a statement. The DOJ does not support that practice.

SEE ALSO: Commissioner Gonzalez halts Portland tent and tarp distribution citing fires

Steven Hayes lost his 17-year-old nephew Quanice Hayes in an officer-involved shooting in Portland in 2017. 

The Hayes’ family attorney says physical evidence shows the 17-year-old was complying with officer orders to lay face down when he was shot and killed.  Hayes says,

“I sat thru every deposition for every police officer, every witness and it was a lot of, ‘I didn’t see this, he saw this.’ No one was on the same page when it came to the 5-10 officers on the scene,” says Hayes.

Hayes says officers did not provide a clear picture of what happened the day his nephew died and Hayes believes if officers were equipped with body cams, the family would have been saved a lot of frustration and heartbreak.

Later this month representatives from the city of Portland and DOJ will meet in court to discuss the city’s progress in complying with the terms of its settlement agreement with the DOJ.