Mayor Ted Wheeler announced on Twitter that Portland City Council unanimously approved police reforms that eliminate the “48-hour rule,” which previously provided officers who utilized deadly force two days until granting interviews or providing statements.
Mayor Wheeler insists that police officers involved in fatal shootings must give a statement as soon as possible. The ruling no longer supports the freedom for a police officer to consult with an attorney before providing a public statement or speaking to the press, KGW reports.
“We have finally done away with the so-called 48-hour rule, and will now require officers involved in the use of deadly force to provide a statement to internal affairs investigators as soon as possible after an incident,” Wheeler wrote in a statement.
— Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) August 25, 2017
Portland police officers previously had 48 hours to consult with attorneys before speaking with investigators, giving a public statement, or providing interviews with the press. Charlie Haas, former Portland mayor, previously declined the rule, but police officers tried to reinstate it in hopes to allow more than 48 hours for consultation.
Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill revived a 1982 Oregon Supreme Court decision that prevented obliged interviews. Mayor Wheeler challenged it, stating, “I am not convinced a case from 1982, which did not deal with the question of concurrent employment and criminal investigations, should be the final word on issues critical to police accountability and public trust today.”
Underhill believes a criminal investigation is needed before deriving a statement from an officer who used deadly force.