Portland releases names, ID numbers of protest cops after judge’s decision
Officers began concealing their names and badge numbers in June 2020, citing worries over officers’ privacy and safety
By Jack Forrest
PORTLAND, Ore. — A nine-month legal battle between a lawyer and the city of Portland ended Monday with the release of the previously obscured names of officers on the front lines of 2020 social justice protests.
Portland police officers began concealing their names and badge numbers in June 2020 while responding to protests, citing worries over officers’ privacy and safety. Officers instead wore tape with six-digit personnel numbers.
Some officers on the Portland Police Bureau’s now disbanded Rapid Response Team wore different one or two-digit numbers specific to their team, according to court documents. Demonstrators used those numbers to identify officers they felt were using unnecessary force.
Alan Kessler, a lawyer and activist affiliated with the movement to recall Mayor Ted Wheeler, filed a lawsuit against the city in February after his public records request for a list of officer names and their correlating one or two-digit numbers was denied.
Kessler included a picture of an officer with a large two-digit number in his request, but records officials claimed there was a miscommunication and that they thought Kessler was asking to identify officers by their six-digit personnel numbers.
Multnomah County Circuit Judge Pro Tempore Terence Thatcher wrote in a scathing decision that records officials should have understood Kessler was looking for the names of officers bearing single or two-digit numbers — not the six-digit personnel numbers, Willamette Week first reported.
“The City surely knew what numbers its officers were wearing during the demonstrations,” Thatcher wrote in his decision last week. “At least some of them were wearing Rapid Response Team numbers. The City hid that fact from Kessler…”
Thatcher on Oct. 11 gave the city until Monday to release the Rapid Response Team numbers to Kessler or return to court. Kessler said he hopes more people will hold officers accountable for their uses of force now that they can identify officers by name.
“I thought it was important for the public to know who these bad actors were, so I put in a public records request to the city of Portland,” Kessler told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “It should have been a simple thing. Turns out, we now know that they had a list they could have just handed over. Instead they played a game.”
Notable officers identified in the records include Brent Taylor, No. 12, and Erik Kammerer, No. 67.
Taylor, an officer, was cleared by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office of any criminal wrongdoing after Erica Christiansen claimed in a civil lawsuit that Taylor shoved her to the ground and shot her with a less-lethal weapon at point-blank range.
Four claims against Kammerer, a detective, were referred to the Oregon Department of Justice.
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