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U.S. justice department town hall focuses on Portland police confrontations

The U.S. Department of Justice plans a public town hall as part of its civil rights investigation into the on the Portland Police Bureau's use of force policies and practices.

The town hall is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the St. John's Community Center, 8427 N. Central St.

The Special Litigation Section of the department's Civil Rights Division opened the investigation in June 2011 after a series of confrontations that turned violent between the police and minorities, including African-Americans and the mentally ill.

Mayor Sam Adams and then-Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman joined with community leaders to request the investigation after the January 2010 police shooting of Aaron Campbell, a suicidal unarmed African-American. The Campbell family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city that was settled last week for $1.2 million.

As part of its investigation, the department has already conducted a series of private meetings with numerous people who had complaints and other information about police behavior. According to the department, the upcoming town hall is open to 'any individual who has specific and recent information they would like to share about their personal interaction with [Portland Police Bureau] officers.'

Throughout its investigation, the department is trying to

Determine whether there are systemic violations of the U.S. Constitution or federal law by Portland police officers. The department will also consider the efforts that Portland has undertaken to ensure compliance with federal law.

The department has conducted similar investigation in other jurisdictions, including New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Louisiana and California.

Anyone unable to attend the town hall can still comment to the department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-877-218-5228. They can also contact the U.S. Attorney's local Civil Rights Hotline at either 503-471-5577 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .