Portland Police Chief Resigns: Press Conference

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Produced by: 
KBOO
Program:: 
Air date: 
Mon, 06/08/2020 - 5:00pm

Portland Police Chief Jamie Resch resigned Monday, just six months into her job, amidst criticism of the Portland Police Force's handling of protests against police violence and racism.

She tapped Officer Chuck Lovell,  an 18-year Police Bureau veteran, having joined in May 2002. He is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and a former member of the U.S. Air Force. He served as a school resource officer from 2007 through 2011 and rose to the rank of lieutenant but was doing behind-the-scene work for two recent chiefs.

At today's press conference, KBOO showed up in person along with OPB. Other media outlets sent in their questions by text.

Ted Wheeler 0:00  
An important one for building adjust an equitable future for everyone here in the city of Portland. To build that future, we must look to where reform needs to happen. In doing this, we must also acknowledge and uncomfortable past that systematically disadvantaged black, indigenous and brown people along with many of our other marginalized community members. Much of the focus and attention has been placed with our Portland Police Bureau, a bureau that has prioritized de escalation tactics, adjusted their use of force policies, and inserted community accountability in their practices for the last several years. Yet, all of us acknowledge that that's not enough. And while I'm very proud of our Bureau for being willing to adapt, evolve, and embrace reform, I know that we must take actions that reimagine what community safety can be like in our city and boldly face the questions being asked of us by our community. This is the time for us to lean in to change and innovation in the pursuit of true justice in our community. So, today, Portland Police Bureau Chief Jamie rush, and I have an important announcement. And the chief felt it was important that you hear it from her directly. And I agree. So without further ado, Chief Jamie rush morning.

Jamie Resch  1:49  
Over the last 10 days, I've watched our city. I've listened and I hear you. We have asked our community I have asked our community time and time again. What do we need to do And each time we hear them say, show us change. And the Portland Police Bureau has made change. We've made policy changes, we made changes to our discipline guide. We send our officers to procedural justice and implicit bias training. We meet with community one on one and we meet with community in small groups. But in the words of Tony Hobson, and Mr. Hobson, I'm going to use your words. Those are changes, but they are not the change. What ppb has not done publicly is stand up and say we will be the start of the change and take a step towards that change. Yesterday I called Mayor Wheeler and I asked him to support me and to support the Portland Police Bureau in being the beginning of the change that this city needs. I believe this change starts with trust that absolutely must come from the heart. I have asked Chuck Lovell to step into the role as the chief of the Portland Police Bureau. And for those of you that know, Chuck, I don't need to explain to you why, why he is the exact right person at the exact right moment. But for those of you that don't, I will try to sum him up. And for a person of that caliber, it's pretty impossible. So, Chuck is the most compassionate, honest, humble, genuine to the core person. In fact, last week, we were talking and he was telling me how, from a young age, his parents instilled a sense of service in him and how his entire career has been in service. And yesterday when I was talking to him and explaining to him why I was making this decision, and why I felt he was the right person for this decision. He made a very important statement. He said I've never wanted to be in the role of a leader. And I said, That's exactly why you are the right person. You never wanted it. You were meant for it. I will not be leaving the Portland Police Bureau. You're not getting rid of me that easy. My position in the logistics It will be figured out in the next couple of days. And that's not important. What's important is we focus on standing beside chief Lovell, and our Portland Police Bureau in our community as we move towards the beginning to be the change. As I mentioned earlier, I believe this change needs to start with trust, and it needs to come from the heart. So I'm asking the members of the Portland Police Bureau, please trust me. This is the right thing to do. And I'm asking the community to please trust that this comes from my heart. Thank you.

Ted Wheeler  4:55  
Chief Resch, thank you for your leadership. And the standard that you uphold, and the values that I know do come from your heart. I know you've done everything you can to support our peaceful demonstrators, while balancing the need for public safety. And I'm very grateful to you. Chief rash has been with the Portland Police Bureau for 20 years. And I want the public to know she has my complete confidence and she will continue to have my complete confidence in her new role. She's respected. She's committed to the safety of the public and she's committed to the values that we all share in this community. And she is without any question committed to the Bureau and she is committed to doing the right thing for our community. And when Chief Resch told me that she believed our community needed New Voices to lead the conversation around community safety. I agreed. We need her continued leadership in the Portland Police Bureau, and we need chief Lovells leadership. Together, we're going to work on meaningful and bold reforms within the Portland Police Bureau. Let me be clear, the need for bold reforms is not new. I know that we must interrupt the system both internally and externally to reimagine what public safety in our community can be like, I additionally know that we've missed talent in promotions and in our succession planning, which is why chief Lavelle has been hired. I am 100% confident that he is the right person for this job. I decided to move thoughtfully in supporting the Chiefs decision and in hiring someone who has The experience, the community, the connections and the Community Trust to help move us all forward, while knowing that the issues we have are not the Chiefs alone to fix. Community Safety is my responsibility. And frankly, it's everyone's responsibility. And for many watching us watching this today, this is nothing new. But I want to make sure I'm clearly acknowledging our intentional actions moving forward. A long awaited shift is happening in our city and around the country. And it's my privilege to work with all of our elected leaders and community leaders and with ordinary folks in the community to put in motion reforms that will serve that will heal and provide the safety and the kind of safety that our community is asked us for. Many Portlanders walked through the weekend peacefully uniting around a message calling for us to live up to To our highest aspirations, shining a light on the possibility of reforms for the benefit of all of our residents. Yet, I don't want this point to be missed either. We must dive deeper in to what those marching for justice and peace are pointing out, that the policies we have must truly serve all of us that this is a challenge that we must rise to. This movement is about both historic and current police violence, which is real, and which has traumatized black communities all across our country. It's about the criminal justice system that imprisoned an entire generation of young black men for non violent and innocuous offenses, disrupting families and altering life outcomes. It's about our education. system, which has not lived up to the promise of community education and preparing our city, our state and our nation, for the future leadership that it's so desperately needs.

 9:13  
We hear you. We're listening. And we will continue to listen deeply and intently heating your advice, advice, and to act with a sense of urgency. Together, we've already removed police officers from Portland's public schools and redirected funding towards community centered investments, helping to connect our black youth and to further examine and reimagine our safety strategies here in the city of Portland. Each of these reforms directs directly fulfills requests from the community in Portland centering the voices and experiences of our black Portlanders people have also expressed serious concerns about using CSV. To manage crowds, especially when we're battling the COVID pandemic. Over the weekend, I directed the Portland Police Bureau to limit the use of CS gas to situations where there is an immediate threat to life and safety. My priority is protecting the lives of demonstrators, first responders and the people who are in custody at the Justice Center. We're going to continue to monitor protest activity and when necessary, adjust and evolve our responses to provide effective, respectful public safety services. With the murder of George Floyd, and many others that were lost prior, including locally, we must reimagine reform and rebuild what public safety looks like, and we must go through this process together. I want Portlanders to know, I share your concerns and we'll move forward With the urgency that you expect, tomorrow, I will be sharing a larger list of specific reforms that I will be implementing and pursuing. The list includes financial policy and legislative items, a combination of actions that I will take as mayor and will take in partnership with other elected leaders. I will fervently support needed reforms the community is demanding in the near term. And I'll be honest and transparent with you about potential trade offs. Because another one of my values is this. If we're going to do something, let's not just do it, so that we can say we did. Let's do it. Right. Thank you. And with that, we're going to hear from our new police chief chief Chuck Lovell. Welcome, Chuck. Thank you.

Chuck Lovell  12:08  
Thank you, Mayor. To say this was unexpected would be understatement. I told she fresh over the last few weeks that I would do everything in my power to help her through these challenging times. And that I'd be at her disposal to help lift her up and help her be successful. As we spend a lot of time cultivating community, partnerships, relationships, having conversations, talking about the future.
She asked me, she said, when you're she said, when you're in this position, the only thing that matters is doing what's right for the bureau. doing what's right for the community. And that just kind of gives you a sense sense of what a selfless caring leader she is. I don't know if I've worked directly for anyone who cares more about the people in our organization, or the people in the community. So I want to thank her again. This is going to be hard. I don't have any illusions about that. But meeting every day at Revolutionary square and marching into downtown Portland standing up against injustice, that's hard too. What pastor Monterey and fellow faith leaders did last night. Standing at the fence in a symbol of peace. That's difficult also takes courage. With the community members on the inside of the fence. The ones wearing patches that say police and sheriff's what they do every night. Believe me that is difficult as well. It takes courage. It has a toll. We have to remember when they don't have those uniforms on. There are community members, they're sitting next to us in church. They're dropping their kids off at the same schools our kids go to. They're behind us in the line at the grocery store. And we can never lose sight of the fact that there are way more good police officers than there are bad ones. I've spent a lot of time working in inner northeast Portland throughout my career, Jefferson High School and then back to northeast precinct. I spent a lot of time with community listening, going to meetings, talking. Just really trying to build relationships and have connection.

And one of the things that's always stuck with me is I've always heard kind of a feelings conversation, especially from the black community. It was something always to the effect of we don't feel like you love us. We don't Feel like you treat us the same. And in our police world, the language we speak is really, you know, drenched in policy and things of that nature. It's stuff like you know, there's an ongoing investigation. We can't tell you anything, or we have data and stats that tell this story. And we, I always felt like we left there missing each other. The community left feeling unheard. And we left wondering why. I wonder why they didn't weren't able to see things our way. I think one of the most important things we can do as an organization is to find a way to convey to the community our heart. Let them know that we are here to serve you. We took an oath to serve and protect you. We love you. We fall down sometimes. We need to learn how to get better together. We need to stand by each other in that journey. When I watched the video of what happened to Mr. Floyd I remember the big takeaway I had. I mean, as I watched the agonizing minutes tick by, it wasn't the tactics. It wasn't the number of officers there. It was really the lack of care and compassion. And that's, that's what stuck with me. And the thought that that's an idea that could exist that almost felt like you're not important. And to me, the fight is not with each other. The fight for all of us is against that idea that people, institutions, agencies, you name it can harbor that feeling in our hearts, and it has bad outcomes for people. So that that is the true enemy. That's what we should all be united fighting against. I am so honored and humbled that so many people came out when it was so much short notice and there were some logistic issues and we're in a pandemic, to show support. folks here who have dedicated their lives and done so much to help youth of color in inner northeast Portland. Donald Dixon Jefferson High School, Tony Hobson and Libra Ford, SCI self enhancement, Joe McFerrin, pllc Rosemary Anderson High School. Thank you. legends in the community icons Ron Herndon, martok Rambis, Antoinette Edwards. friends and colleagues, people I've worked with dreamed with, try to do things to make the community better with Dwight Holton, former US Attorney, currently CEO of lines for life. Nike and Herman green fixtures in the North Portland Community. And great command staff that I have with me, have come out to support me that means a lot. We have, we have a lot of work to do. And we're going to we're going to get busy doing that work. But I don't want to have too many words. I just wanted to share some things that were on my heart. Let you know I'm humbled. I'm a public servant. I'm going to show up every day with a servant's heart. I'm going to give the best service I can. I'm going to listen. I'm going to care about the community. And I'm going to care about the people in the organization. And all I can do is be me. And I'm looking forward to this journey. Thank you.

Facilitator  18:34  
Thank you chief Lavelle right now. There are a lot of community leaders in the house here. And I would like to leave this space open and available. If anybody would like to come up here and speak on chief Ravel's behalf anybody like to say a word or two or five or 10 or 15 about this man?
Thank you, Antoinette Edwards,

Antoinette Edwards  19:03  
This is historic. As I was talking with Dr. Andy shear, he said this is historic. And people are watching Portland. Something's happening today. And I'm so grateful for my brothers and sisters that are here to be a witness to that. And your support for Chuck. I've known him forever. That's what you say when you're old. And I'm excited for this moment when he called me last night. I just got excited. I said, you're worthy. And we can do this. And my only message is he needs all of us. And we're here for him. I'm here for you. And Portland. To show our best effort. I just left the the wall of hurt and pain with George on it. And the caring the outpouring from the Portlanders To feel us to be with us. This is a great beginning. And let's support each other. We need the blue. We need everyone. Thank you. Love you Chuck.

Facilitator 20:20  
Anybody else want to take the microphone before we move on to questions for the speakers here today? Okay.

Ronnie Hernan  20:38  
Ronnie Hernan via headstart, longtime resident of Portland. I met Chuck in his role as a caring a person who's very very concerned about children and family. We had some some unfortunate incidents at my work involving parents who did not have authority to be around their children. And we needed help in addressing that. The person that I called was Chuck, I tried to reach out to others, they weren't available, but Chuck immediately stepped in and helped us to maintain a safe environment for children and families. So for me, that sums up the person who didn't have to do it. He very easily could have said, I'm going to refer you to Joe split AND gates, down on the corner who's supposed to be patrolling that area. He didn't do it. He stepped in himself. He made the calls and people responded quickly. So that's my view of the future. Chief is a person who not only cares, but he acts. And he wasn't acting for the children to some large corporation. He was acting for some of the children that this city in this country pay very little attention to, and whose families get very, very little attention either. So for him to care, I think it's somewhere in the Scripture, what you've done to the least of mine, you've done to me, for him to care about the least, was very, very striking to me, and he did it repeatedly. So Chuck, it's an honor to know you. I'm very proud that you're in this position. And I know there are gonna be some stormy days but we'll be right there with you. Thank you,

Tony Hobson  22:59  
Tony Hobson NCO self enhancement Inc. Briefly, I would just say there's there's two parts of this. And we have an outgoing chief that did something that is just unprecedented, meaning these days in times to have a chief decide based on looking at the circumstances, and what she felt was in the best interest of her police force and the community to step aside is virtually unheard of. Yeah. I just don't want that moment to go by because somebody had to make that decision. This wasn't a mayor's decision. This was her decision, after looking at all that was going on within our community. That is a special person to be that selfless, to have that kind of courage in the moment like this, and feel like it's in the best interest of our community to step aside. That's number one. Number two, when you step aside, you have to have somebody to pass the baton to Somebody that was already ready, somebody that was already connected to a community that can make that difference. So to our outgoing Chief, much love and respect into the income she much love and respect.

Donald Dixon  24:28  
Good afternoon. My name is Donald Dixon, and I'm a counselor at Jefferson High School in my 41st year, and I'm retiring, I get a chance to this semester is pretty difficult because I'm going out at the end of a seniors career with them not having a regular graduation and all the type of send off that they normally have. So it's kind of difficult for me at this time to see them go that way because this is my last class my 41st class. So but I wanted to mention and I want to echo also with Tony say what our outgoing Chief, that's incredible. I mean for that kind of person to do that. And then also to recognize the person that she wants to pass the baton to. And that's Chuck. I met Chuck because because he was our SRO at Jefferson High School. And, Chuck, to me exhibits. What I grew up dealing with, as far as the police is concerned, in the community, knowing who the police was having a relationship with them, and that everyone knew when they came around, they weren't in fear of the person, but they welcome the person because we knew who they were, what they were all about, and that they had our best interests at heart. And Chuck exhibit that soon as he came into Jefferson High School with the kids, the kids were very comfortable with him, and they know they could go to him and let him know what was going on. He could be abreast of everything that was happening, the heartbeat of the school, the heartbeat, the community and what was going on. And so we had that kind of relationship. He also was there when I started the boys demand program, and he became a mentor. He immediately drew the attention of other police officers to come and be mentors in the boys demand program to be able to sit down with boys and talk to them about growing up from a boy to a man but now also to be a police officers because African American males have a certain perspective about police officers that Chuck immediately was able to dispel. And for them to be able to have been very comfortable. He also was very instrumental in me being able to have a city wide conference with the police department where we had 175 almost 200 police officers to sit down with 100 black men and 100 black boys in order for us to be able to develop the kind of relationships that we need to have in the community. And once again, as because of Chuck being a part of that. vision and being the person that he is. So I'm not shocked or surprised. You know, he was always saying that one day you'll probably be doing this. We thought it was way off because he's pretty young. But now is the time. We can never really deal with anything else except for the time. And even those of you who saw Chuck and when he did his memorial he talked about in Ecclesiastes three, there's a time for everything. And right now is the time. And so we support Chuck, we love Chuck, you know, he called me late last night and he was hoping that I would be awake and I would answer the call. And it was more than a privilege for me to be here today to support him acknowledge him and I hope that the whole city and everyone gets behind him, the department as well as the community. Thank you chuck, and congratulations.

Joe McFerrin  28:03  
Good afternoon Joe McFerrin president ceo with Portland Rosemary Anderson high school, keep my comments very brief, but as an organization that for over 50 years have worked with predominantly African American folks in the community that have had contact, high levels of contact with law enforcement. I'm truly excited about the decision here today. And I feel extremely hopeful for the families that we we all of us are working with, as we help them transition through this pandemic. I think times are going to be tougher before they get better. But I think that with the chief and his leadership and what we've all heard today, I feel really good moving forward, as we help our community he'll move on a Saturday service.

Unknown Speaker  29:24  
I am the owner norik console from Guatemala. Para la comunidad latina,  Muchas gracias, 
So we have a new chief. And thank you, chief for the work that you have done. Thank you so much for embracing our community and all communities. Thank you.

Herman green 30:04  
My name is Herman green. I'm a community guy, pastor a church in North Portland. But I've just been doing a lot of work in the community prison ministry and all that kind of stuff in in everything that I've done. I heard it sort of said earlier that Jamie loves the Bureau, and she loves the community. But whenever I think about Chuck, seems to flip that. Chuck loves this community. And he also loves the bureau. He always puts the community and what the community needs. Like, in front. He's always asking how are we going to better the community? How can we support the community? How can we give the community what it needs, and right now today, I'm hopeful because today the community got what it needed. We didn't have to look outside to find somebody to come and help us because everything that we need is already in our community. And by putting you in the front, it was a stamp on it. That says we got what we need to make the changes We need to make to make our community better. We don't have to go somewhere else and get it. It's right here. So I'm excited to have Chuck here. I'm grateful for you to be the chief. And I know that now that you're here and doing the work that you have always been called to do. And with the support that you've got around you, we're about to see some things happen. That the tipping point that the mayor was talking point, this is that point, this is that space where it's no longer going to be going back the way it used to be, it's no longer going to be business as usual. We can't go back to the way that we did it. And from this point forward, this is how it's going to be. And I'm I'm asking everybody that I know if you know me, you know, I love the community. You know, I speak my truth. You know, I don't care nothing about politics, and none of that other stuff. I love people. And that's it. And I love this guy because he has that heart. He cares about people. He don't care about the politics. He'll care about none of that stuff. He cares about doing what's right for the people that he's called to serve, and I'm grateful to be serving alongside you might go Thank you.

Unknown Speaker  32:14  
Good morning. Lieber Ford, Chief Operating Officer at self enhancement, Inc. Three things I want to say first and foremost, congratulations. You should absolutely take a pause and receive this completely. The second thing I want to say is that this is an amazing room of people who will absolutely surround him. But this room is extended outside these doors. Everyone has to surround this man, and everything that he is, will only be risen by everything we can do with him. And the last thing I want to say which is what Mr. officer was really touching upon is, this is a huge move. And I think we need To think about this word that we throw around a lot equity. This is what equity looks like, when you move out the way and give room for people who look like Chuck Lavelle, Chief, Chuck Lavelle, when the time is right, and the time is needed. That is what equity is. So let's not just use the word let's do more actions around it. Let that look like this. And for all those that don't know what it looks like, this is a great example of what it is.

Unknown Speaker  33:42  
All right. We want to thank everybody who spoke on chief Lovell's behalf. We're now going to bring the chief up here and he reporters in the house. We're going to open the floor for questions and we ask that you take the microphone in the back there. And we'll start with questions for chief Lovell.

KBOO Reporter  34:05  
KBOO here. You talked about a culture of care. Over the last 10 days Portland Police have harassed and attacked media in the protests including a reporter shouting media repeatedly while the video shows officer saying I don't care if you're media and pepper spraying him in the camera and face. And I wonder what steps you're taking to ensure that freedom of the press is respected by peace officers and whether you will ban tear gas, the LRAD and the flashbang grenades as recommended by the Portland committee on community engaged policing last night.

Chuck Lovell  34:41  

That's a long question. And I'm literally 10 minutes in so I didn't see any of the video or anything from last night. The last 20 ish hours for me has just been a whirlwind like you couldn't believe we have Have systems of accountability. Our officers are well trained. They're out there doing their best to keep the peace. I'm sure we'll look at whatever video or whatever there is to look at and we'll make some determinations. I want to be clear. We want to give great service. We want to do the best job that we can. But I also want to protect officers and give them the tools they need to do the job that we asked them to do. I think that that's the only fair way to lead them. So I mean, we'll we'll look at that. And we'll still do what we need to do as law enforcement leaders to protect the public to protect life and property. And yeah, well we'll look at it

Unknown Speaker  36:02  
Hi, my name is Rebecca, I'm a reporter with OPB. I'm curious with you, as the new chief is anything going to change and how ppb handles protests tonight and moving forward?

Chuck Lovell 36:16  
I think in very general terms, change is coming. I think this is a, you know, this is kind of a real, like precipice for law enforcement all over the country and the city. And we're going to really look hard at what changes need to be made, what changes makes sense. I changed for the sake of change, doesn't always have the best outcomes for people. So although we're at a point now, where there are going to be changes, and we have to accept that we really need to be mindful of what those changes are, what they look like, how they're implemented. What other pieces of the justice system They affect and really think hard about what the outcomes for folks will be.

Unknown Speaker  37:05  
I'm curious specifically within policing the protests, though, do you have any changes in mind for that? Are you speaking more generally within

Chuck Lovell 37:12  
speaking more generally? I mean, we have constant conversations about, you know, the events that take place currently during protests, but I mean, in very general terms, we need to really start thinking about the changes we're making and what effects they're gonna have. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker  37:43  
Okay, next we'll open the floor to for questions to or have Mayor Wheeler, bring him up here. And I do have a couple questions from the media that have been emailed to me that I will read out for him as well.

 KBOO Reporter  38:04  
Hi, Mayor Wheeler KBOO here. At last night's packed virtual meeting of the Portland committee on community engaged policing the committee voted based on overwhelming community support to recommend that Portland city council ban police use of tear gas CS gas, l rad and flashbangs and that Portland defund the police and fund the community. Will you carry out those recommendations and Will you follow chief Resch's example and resign.

Ted Wheeler 38:31  
All of the reforms that were voted on by the Portland committee on community engaged policing last night are on the table. Some of them have already been enacted. I have already directed that the LRAD will not be used except for communications. I've been very clear in my views with regard to CS gas, we will eliminate CS gas provided That there are alternatives that do not require a higher use of force and do not put lives in danger. And so that is an open conversation and it's one that the council is actively engaged in. There are other reforms that cross the spectrum that have been put forth by the community, some that I'll be putting forth myself tomorrow. Others that I can enact either through executive direction, some that require bargaining, some that require legislative changes. And right now everything is on the table. My job, including last night, I was on that forum. I spoke very briefly, but I wanted to center communities of color, particularly the black community in that conversation, but I did listen, I took my notes, and we will respond to all of those things. I appreciate you asking the question, will I resign? And the answer is this. I love being the mayor of the city. It's a privilege every day that I have the opportunity to serve is another opportunity to improve the community in which we live. I was elected four years ago, nearly four years ago, overwhelmingly to serve in leadership capacity in this city no matter what. And none of us could have anticipated the COVID crisis. We're now in a larger society based conversation around policing and justice. And I believe that I can lead us through the changes that are required. But let's also be honest, all of us who hold leadership positions all of us not just in elective office, but everyone in this community. This is a time of transformational change. And it's going to require all of us to be introspective and think about when it is appropriate for us to step forward and when it will be appropriate for us to step back. In some cases, I have offered reforms in other cases, I think can best serve the community by stepping back and listening and accepting the community's will when it comes to specific reforms. So my my view is that I am open minded that I'm prepared to lead that I lead with confidence and conviction and values. And I love being the mayor.


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