PPRC's Friday Rally and March Marks Chief Mark Kroeker's Departure, Calls for Continued Reforms in Portland’s Police Bureau

Event: PPRC Friday Rally and March Marks Police Chief Kroeker's Departure
Date: Friday, October 10th, 2003
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square

The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition's weekly 5:00 p.m. Friday rally and march for peace at Pioneer Courthouse Square will mark the departure of Portland's previous, controversial Police Chief, Mark Kroeker. Kroeker, who announced his resignation abruptly at the end of August, stated that this Friday, October 10, would be his last official day at work.

This Friday’s march will stop at the steps of the Justice Center at SW 3rd and Madison streets to address the issues of police accountability. "While Kroeker’s resignation is a very welcome change for the city of Portland, there is still important work to do in creating institutional change in the Portland Police Bureau," said Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch, an organization supporting Friday's rally. "As a project of a peace group, Portland Copwatch appreciates the PPRC's efforts to tie together issues of international peace and local civil liberties."

Kroeker's tenure included numerous questionable police shootings, including those of Kendra James and Jose Santos Mejia Poot, violent crackdowns on political rallies including May Day 2000 and George Bush’s visit in 2002, the militarization of the force beginning with military-style haircuts imposed shortly after Kroeker took office in late 1999, and increased tensions between the community and the police. In November, 2002, Kroeker exacerbated those tensions by issuing awards to the officers involved in the shooting death of Mejia.

The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition's weekly rallies, which have continued for nearly two years, began shortly after the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan in the wake of 9-11. October 7 marks the two-year anniversary of that war.

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