AMA calls the hiring of Assistant Chief a ‘slap in the face’

Via the The Albina Ministerial Alliance…

The Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform today called Chief Mike Reese’s hiring of Portland Business Alliance Vice President Mike Kuykendall to an Assistant Chief job at the Bureau “a slap in the face.”

At a meeting with Chief Reese on June 17, the steering committee of the AMA Coalition urged Reese to hire a person of color to such a high-level civilian position in the Chief’s office to show his commitment to the community, in light of there not being any Commanders of color and just one recently-promoted Captain who could have been promoted to the position. The AMA and other members of the community had also encouraged Mayor/Police Commissioner Sam Adams and former Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman to diversify the command staff.

Instead, after Reese had the job of Assistant Chief of Services reclassified to a civilian position on the Wednesday, July 14 City Council consent agenda, he appointed Kuykendall, who is white.

Reese’s personal relationship with Kuykendall, which includes their membership in a band called “The Usual Suspects,” as well as Kuykendall’s background in the District Attorney’s office and at the Portland Business Alliance, gives the appearance of insider influence.

“In the same way Mayor Adams selected Chief Reese without input from the community, Reese has now picked an Assistant in direct contradiction to input from the community, and without doing a broader search,” said Pastor T. Allen Bethel of the Coalition.

“When he says he is trying to rebuild relationships damaged in the last 8 months by police shootings, ‘beanbagging’ a 12-year old, and the union march on City Hall, instead he has given us a slap in the face.”

Some members of the Coalition also worry about Kuykendall’s advocacy of the “Sit/Lie” laws, which target poor and homeless people in the downtown core. “If Reese is trying to build trust in our communities, he should not hire someone who is seen as not representing our communities,” said Bethel.

Via Street Roots…

Kuykendall was profiled in Street Roots in 2007. Street Roots and other homeless advocates have had strained relationships with the Portland Business Alliance during Kuykendall’s tenure. Disagreements were mostly over the city’s sit-lie law, and SR calling for public oversight of the Portland Patrol Inc., a private security firm that enforces public policy in downtown parks contracted by the Alliance.

In 2009, Street Roots joined the Portland Business Alliance in the hopes of improving relationships with downtown businesses. The membership was in exchange for advertising in Street Roots. Months after the agreement, Kuykendall accused Street Roots of yellow journalism because of an editorial it had written, and told the organization that the Alliance could no longer run ads in the newspaper. The reaction spurred a flurry of bad PR for the Alliance, and continued to put a strain on Street Roots and the Alliance’s relationship that has lasted to date.

Posted by Israel Bayer

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