Portland United Against Hate Testimony Against Police Violence
September 3, 2020
Co-Chairs and Members of the Committee:
My name is Rabbi Debra Kolodny. I live in Multnomah County and am the Executive Director of Portland United Against Hate and the Rabbi of Portland’s UnShul.
Having spoken with over 100 people and read through dozens of first hand reports on extraordinary police violence against almost exclusively peaceful protestors, and having pastored to over a dozen people who have received horrific injuries, I want to thank you for your work on LC 17 through 20.
That being said, I believe that there are miles to go before we sleep.
I understand that the original draft of LC17 banned the use of all chemical weapons and limited the use of impact projectiles more than this current version. I understand that the original version also required emergency medical services on the ground and safe space for medics. We believe all of these should be included and agree with everything that Alison Cole just said in this regard. To be clear, PUAH supports only de-escalation for crowd control.
In addition, we urge that legislation ending qualified immunity is challenge proof in the courts. We further urge legislation that ends police allyship with White Nationalist violence. If police continue to ignore their firing of live rounds and paint guns as well as pipe bombs, not one of us is safe. Not one of us.
And while this is outside the scope of this legislation, for the record, PUAH supports a minimum $50 million reduction in the Portland Police Bureau’s budget.
For your future deliberations, our written testimony will include a link to the 12 demands in a community written Stop Cops Riots letter, as well as PUAH’s August 5 “Police Violence is Hate Violence,” report so you can see the concerns these LC’s do not yet address and the reasons behind those concerns.
Rabbi Debra Kolodny
Stop Cop Rioting letter can be found here: https://www.portlandunitedagainsthate.org/statements
Police Violence is Hate Violence report can be found here: https://www.portlandunitedagainsthate.org/reportarchive