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Tag: Portland

Portland Police Stop ICE Agents from Using Bureau Center for Training

By Steve Neavling

ICE agents are no longer allowed to use the firing range and classroom space at its training center in Portland after police abruptly terminated a two-year contract.

The Portland Police Bureau alerted the agency in a Sept. 19 letter that the city was halting an agreement for ICE to use the training center in Northeast Portland, Oregon Live reports.

The contract, signed in 2018, wasn’t supposed to expire until August 2020.

“After an internal review, the Portland Police Bureau is no longer allowing use of its Training Division facility by a portion of the United States Department of Homeland Security because the use of the facility must be consistent with the City’s values and Federal, State, and local laws,” the Police Bureau said in a statement Wednesday.

The city of Portland passed a resolution that prevents the city from using resources to enforce federal immigration law.

“The use of PPB’s training facility by other law enforcement agencies should be consistent with City values,” Chief Danielle Outlaw said in the statement.

“A mistake was made due to miscommunication during the contract approval process. When the oversight was brought to our attention, we took immediate action,” she added.

Ex-FBI Agent: Charging Portland Suspect with Hate Crimes Is ‘Sticky’

Jeremy Christian

Jeremy Christian

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is trying to determine whether federal charges are warranted in the case of the 35-year-old man who stabbed three people on a Portland train after yelling expletives at two women he believed to be Muslims.

Jeremy Christian has already been charged with aggravated murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a handgun.

But feds are investigating whether Christian also committed hate crimes and domestic terrorism.

“It will take some time for a review of information and evidence along with consultation with prosecutors to determine whether federal charges will be filed,” Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the FBI told KATU News.

But a retired FBI agent told KATU those charges may be difficult to prove.

“Hating someone is not a crime,” Greg Vecchi, a retired FBI agent with 29 years of federal investigative experience said.

“You can hate someone, a Christian, a Muslim. You can hate someone who’s black, someone who’s white,” Vecchi said. “That by itself does not trigger the hate crime. What triggers it is taking it a step further and being able to prove that because of that bias that was a motivation or part of a motivation to carry out the crime. … This is where it becomes sticky.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Names New Special Agent in Charge of Portland Division

FBI's Portland division.

FBI’s Portland division.

By Steve Neavling

The Portland division of the FBI has a new special agent in charge.

FBI Director James Comey appointed Loren Cannon, who has worked for the bureau since 1998.

Cannon will replace Greg Bretzing, who had been at the helm since March 2014.

Cannon began his FBI careering the San Francisco division, where he investigated international terrorism, drug trafficking and violent crime.

Cannon most recently serve as section chief of the Leadership Development Program in the Human Resources Branch at FBI headquarters.

Oregonian Editorial Argues Portland Should Maintain Relationship with FBI Task Force

By The Oregonian 
Editorial Board

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, who reportedly has not yet established a position on the matter, recently scheduled a 90-minute hearing to discuss “withdrawal from JTTF involvement.” The Dec. 18 discussion, perhaps fittingly, will occur in the midst of a holiday season devoted to ritual. Portland City Council seems to revisit the city’s participation in the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force as regularly as kids set out milk and cookies in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. Unlike the fat guy in the red suit, though, the value of JTTF involvement is real.

The JTTF is the formal arrangement by which local law enforcement agencies cooperate with the FBI in investigating threats to national security. Local agencies that participate fully – including, in Oregon, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Port of Portland police – devote officers to the task force full-time.  These officers are given security clearances and trained to investigate counterterrorism, says Greg Bretzing, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Portland office. By mutual agreement, he says, they also abide by the rules of their own departments and the laws of their state.

The value of this arrangement is fairly obvious:  Local law enforcement officers “add expertise and long-term, deep-seated knowledge of where we’re operating,” says Bretzing. They’re “out on the street every day interacting with members of the community.” JTTF participation, thus, encourages the free flow of information needed for accurate and efficient law enforcement.

This intermingling of local and federal police agencies has in some places triggered opposition from civil liberties groups, which worry that local officers might engage in intrusive actions inconsistent with their own jurisdictions’ values. This tension between public safety and civil liberties has dogged Portland’s on-again, off-again relationship with the JTTF ever since the city joined in 1997. In 2005, in fact, Portland famously dropped out.

The city patched things up with the FBI – sort of – in 2011, one year after 19-year-old Mohamed Mohamud tried to detonate what he thought was a bomb in Pioneer Courthouse Square during a tree-lighting ceremony. Rather than rejoining as a full participant, however, Portland resolved to participate halfway. Under the arrangement, Portland makes officers available to the JTTF on an as-needed basis, and the city’s police chief must deliver annual reports to the City Council describing the extent of the department’s involvement. Thus, the thinking goes, the city does its part to enhance public safety while also exercising oversight.

Problem is, these annual reports have proven too light on details to satisfy some commissioners, and the FBI has declined to give Hales, the commissioner in charge of the police department, the security clearance needed to know more about the JTTF-related work of city officers.

To read more click here.

FBI Investigating Body Donor Program in Portland Following Similar Probes in Detroit, Arizona

By Steve Neavling

 The FBI is investigating a body donor program in Portland following similar probes in Detroit and Arizona. reports that the FBI launched an investigation into Legacy Health.

But authorities are tightlipped about the probe of Legacy Health.

“Other than confirming that there is an FBI investigation into the Legacy Body Donation Program, there isn’t much more I can say,” said FBI special agent David Porter, a spokesman in the bureau’s Detroit field office.

The investigation involves health screenings of the bodies and failure to notify families of how bodies were being used, reports.

Rumors have put a negative light on body donation services.

“People are confused. They just want to verify that we’re not one of those organizations they’ve read about,”  Corrina Patzer, director of business services for Lions VisionGift, said. “It impacts transplants, it impacts donations.”

The investigation appears to have its roots in two similar cases in Detroit and Arizona.

Prosecutors Begin Presenting Evidence in Portland Bombing Case

Steve Neavling

 Prosecutors in the case against a former college student accused of trying to detonate a bomb near Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland will begin presenting evidence in the case today, KOIN Local 6 reports.

During open arguments Friday, the prosecution painted Mohamed Mohamud as a calculating jihadist intent on killing as many people as possible with what he thought was an 1,800-pound bomb packed into a van in November 2010, KOIN reported.

His attorney, Steve Sady, says Mohamud was entrapped by an undercover FBI agent who provided the fake bomb.

“It’s a matter of going too far,” Sady said during open arguments Friday.

Portland Police Chief to be Trained at FBI National Academy Following Department Problems

Steve Neavling 

His department under federal oversight, Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck is to attend a 10-week course at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA., the Portland Daily Sun reports.

“It’s a lifelong goal from a law enforcement perspective,” Sauschuck told the newspaper.

The academy offered its first classes to 23 students in 1935 in an effort to standardize law enforcement departments.

Among the classes are forensic science, behavior science, understanding terrorism, leadership development. communication and fitness, the Sun reported.



Oregon Man Says He Was Tortured by Interrogators Working for FBI

By Allan Lengel

An Oregon man claims he was tortured in the United Arab Emirates by interrogators cooperating with the FBI, which was investigating a Portland mosque, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Yonas Fikre said he was arrested in June and taken to an Abu Dhabi prison,according to the Times. It was there he claims he was beaten, threatened and isolated during three months of detention by interrogators working for the FBI.

The story is of particular interest since the FBI has long prided itself on not using torture — unlike the CIA — to glean information from people.

Fikre essentially alleged that the bureau used someone else to do the torture.

The Associated Press reported that the Portland FBI declined comment, but said agents are thoroughly trained as to what is permissible under U.S. Law.