Early this month Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler gave city employees the option to take bereavement leave to cope with the deaths of African Americans killed by law enforcement and white supremacists.
The Oregonian reports today that 295 Portland employees have filed for 40 hours of paid bereavement leave since then -- but the city doesn’t know how many of those people are opting in on the race-based policy because Wheeler ordered that requests be approved without questions.
About 25 percent of city workers are people of color, including 7.1% Latinx; 7% Asian; 6.8% Black; 1.1% Native American and 0.5% Pacific Islander, according to the Oregonian. Another 3.9% identify as multi-racial and 0.1% of employees declined to report their ethnicity.
The Oregon State Legislature is in session, with multiple bills on police accountability as well as Covid-related policies such as safety guidelines, economic assistance to businesses and public meeting laws in a virtual environment.
Law enforcement policies now under debate include a choke hold ban; establishing a statewide police discipline database; mandating that police report misconduct or unethical acts of other officers; a ban on tear gas; and a move to put the Oregon attorney general in charge of police use-of-force investigations.
Yesterday the Oregon House passed a bill to clean up rules around taxes for public school funding; a plan to create a statewide meat inspection program; and economic supports for businesses in Eastern Oregon.
In Lincoln County, officials have shut down a new policy allowing people of color NOT to wear covid masks in public. Last week the County Board of Commissioners passed a rule allowing the opt-out //on the basis of racial profiling, arguing that people of color might be harassed disproportionately for wearing face coverings in public.
The officials say an article in the New York Post caused a backlash of racist comments and criticism from near and far. Now the commissioners say the policy QUOTE caused more harm than good.
In a statement, county officials said local residents of color called for the policy to be rescinded because it was making them QUOTE “possible targets for more hate.”
Lincoln County is a hotspot for covid infections tied to a seafood processing plant in Newport that spread to the community at large.
In North Carolina, three police officers have been fired after one was recorded in an accidentally-activated dashcam video calling for a civil war QUOTE to wipe black people off the map.
The video came to light after a regular monthly dashcam audit conducted by the Wilmington Police Department,// which fired Corporal Jessie Moore, and officers Kevin Piner and Brian Gilmore //Tuesday after charging them with violating standards of conduct.
The police department has released the recording to the public.
The video includes racist comments by all three officers. One, Piner, says he is ready for a civil war //and is planning to buy a new assault rifle.
The Associated Press reports that each of the officers admitted they made the racist comments but all denied being racist.
In related police accountability news, yesterday activist Sean King //published Facebook posts indicating current and retired law enforcement officials in California have been planning to assassinate him. In a column published in the medium this week, //King released screenshots showing multiple individuals in a private Facebook group called California Law Enforcement Officers,//posting with their own names, calling for him to be shot, among other things. King said QUOTE I feel the burden to release this publicly for my own safety and for the safety of my family.
And finally, Tina Knowles-Lawson has written a letter to Congress //calling for Covid relief legislation that sets aside money for creating better ballot access for voters//during the November elections.
Known by most people as Beyonce's mother, Knowles-Lawson is supporting the Heroes Act, which if passed would provide $3.6 BILLION dollars for state administration of elections programs.
Working with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, //Knowles-Lawson cited elections in Kentucky this week in which only one polling place opened to serve 600,000 voters, describing the current system as “modern-day voter suppression //plain and simple.”