October 2005

Demanding Accountability



Subscribe to the US~Observer News Flash Alerts!

Subscribe Unsubscribe

Get a subscription
to US~Observer delivered right to
your mailbox via
first-class mail!

Click Here for more information


Medford, OR
Citizen Review Board Needed

By Curt Chancler
Investigative Reporter

Medford, Oregon - The recent acts of police brutality caught on camera in Louisiana and broadcast for all the world to see are becoming all too familiar. These vile images of police brutality that flash across our television screens on the nightly news and too often in weekly police shows degrade our nation. It degrades the many fine men and women who put their lives on the line every day. It destroys the initiative and vision of good officers. It de-sensitizes the public who see and ultimately accept the brutality of poorly trained and under supervised police officers. Corrupted officers are too often created by the incompetent, agenda-driven administrators who have forgotten who they work for.

It has become more apparent each day that citizens across our country are brutalized and beaten by police 24 hours a day, seven days a week due, in part, to poor administrative oversight. The only difference is that the Louisiana incident was caught on camera and reported.

In defense of the many honorable men and women carrying a badge, these images of police abuses are not the norm of law enforcement but a snapshot of bad law enforcement. However, if you look at your own police, how would you rate them? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Not responsive to the public?

Bad law enforcement can only exist when the citizens elect officials that do not follow through on their promises to “clean up government” and “clean up the police department.” Another problem arises when local media - newspapers and television - actively ignore police abuses. Both of these issues can only be addressed by knowledgeable and persistent citizens who insist on an open and honest government. More and more often it is government at every level that insulates itself from the people and ignores who they work for. There must be oversight after the election rhetoric is laid to rest.

Over the last eight years, I have spoken to hundreds of government and police officials, as well as, rank and file police officers across our nation about the problem of police abuse. The common consensus is that unaddressed police abuse always hinders good law enforcement. Each resident of an area must understand that their government, and law enforcement in particular, has become a secretive and insular society where truth and accountability to the public is nearly non-existent.

The first step for curbing police abuse in your community is to identify exactly what the police problems are. To list just a few that we have seen here in Medford, Oregon are the killing of unarmed citizens (Cole Younger Smith Case), excessive use of deadly force, excessive use of unnecessary physical force (Blagg Case), verbal abuse of citizens including racist and sexist remarks, harassment of our minorities, young people, the homeless and political activists, traffic stops without probable cause, failure to discipline or prosecute abusive officers (Reservoir Dogs), infringing on freedom of expression which leads to use of physical force. In Medford the code of silence is a major road-block to efficient law enforcement as well as retaliation against officers that report abuses and/or support reforms.

To effectively combat police abuse, you must have realistic expectations about the ingredients needed for change. Common sense and history show that most police officials cannot and will not hold themselves accountable for their actions involving police abuse in their departments. Common sense dictates that the responsibility of police behavior should not be in the hands of the police. That is a classic case of the fox guarding the hen house!

The responsibility for holding law enforcement accountable to the people lies squarely on the shoulders of the citizens of each community. The people must hold their police to high community standards. History has shown that these standards are best maintained by instituting an independent citizen’s review board.

Civilian review of law enforcement actions was once considered to be a pipe dream but in the 1950’s citizens began the struggle for control over bad police behavior. By the mid-1990’s over 60 percent of our country’s 50 largest city’s had independent civilian review systems in place. That number continues to grow.

Oversights by civilian review boards help clarify the problems as well as provide information for police administrative decisions. Many well intentioned police chiefs have failed to act decisively against police brutality because those doing the internal investigation didn’t provide all of the facts, or even worse, provided distorted facts in order to protect fellow officers.

Some police departments tout that they have a civilian review board when in fact they do not. Medford’s Communications Advisory Board which oversees the Police Department is nothing more than a ceremonial process with no teeth or investigational powers. This ceremonial process is an attempt to fool the people into thinking that their police department is accountable to the public.

For the seeds of accountability to grow in any police department you need a city counsel, and mayor that embrace the idea of accountability to the citizens they serve. If they do not accept that concept you should remind them of the following Constitutional facts.

Oregon Constitution, Article I, Section 1: Natural rights inherent in people. “We declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and have at all times a right to alter, reform or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.” We have the right and the duty to question and direct our government officials.

Article XI, Section 2, gives us the right to establish municipalities. Article XV, Section 3 states that every official elected or appointed must swear an oath to uphold both the Oregon and U. S. Constitutions. So if we can create them we can regulate them!

From this it becomes very apparent that We the People control every aspect of our government and that every official in that government must swear an oath acknowledging that fact.

Their oath clearly states that they are working for the people and that the people have the right and the duty to rein in their government whenever necessary.

A truly independent review board will be housed away from the police and government offices. Its members should be selected by drawing not appointment. It will have the right to subpoena all files and any individual. It must have authority to independently investigate complaints. These findings must be considered when decisions are made.

It is obvious that Medford Police Department needs the oversight of an independent citizen’s review board. To do that, the people are going to have to demand accountability from their elected officials. You have the right. You have the duty. Use them!

Editor’s Note: The Observer has provided news for a number of years on abuses taking place at the hands of members of the Medford Police Department. I have personally witnessed MPD officers lie on the witness stand, under oath and I have watched certain Jackson County judges turn their heads the other way at those lies.

Officer Tim George of the MPD has announced that he plans to run for the Jackson County Sheriff’s position in the next election. George has done absolutely nothing about the abuses listed in this article. The Observer would warn voters in Jackson County, Oregon that electing this insider to such a position would be a costly and extremely poor decision.

Sign-up for our free e-mail News Flash Alerts!

Subscribe Me!



Shop the National Geographic Online Store

Real Networks

The US~Observer believes in our country, our constitution, and the public right to adequate representation.

The US~Observer is
designed to keep the
innocent free, the public
informed, and our form
of government controlled
by the people.

We survive, in part, by gracious donations. They may be sent to:

233 Rogue River Hwy. PMB 387
Grants Pass, OR 97527-5429

or you can click here:



© 2005, US~Observer. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy