ACLU Attorney Compares Secret List Cops To Nazis
Posted by admin2 on 27th February 2009
From the Portland Mercury, February 25 2009
One of Oregon’s most prominent civil rights attorneys compared Officer Jeff Myers to a Nazi in open court this morning. The attorney, Elden Rosenthal, was hired by the ACLU of Oregon last December to fight Myers’ secret list in court.
“After the hearing last month, I got a call from an editorial writer at the Oregonian, and she was very antagonistic towards me,” said Rosenthal, at this morning’s closing arguments hearing in the secret list case. “She asked me what my problem was, she said that Officer Myers is the face of community policing in Portland, and I said that one of the most efficient police forces in history was Hitler’s.”
“But I told her, we’re a long ways from the gestapo,” Rosenthal continued. “We have a bill of rights, which says that we don’t go over that fence. And this is a fence issue.”
“We are over that fence and out in the front yard,” Rosenthal said, referring to the list. “The bill of rights is supposed to protect the house, but we’re endangering the house. The principal at stake is not wanting to collect secret police lists. Secret police lists have never come to any good, wherever they are used. There’s just too much opportunity for abuse.”
The Oregonian ran an editorial supporting the secret list on January 8, accusing Rosenthal of “working off an old model, in which a secret list of names inevitably breeds abuses. The reality is that this list epitomizes community policing,” it said.
Judge Dale Koch now plans to make a constitutional ruling on the list program on March 11.
“I’m speechless when someone makes a comparison between this program and the Nazis,” said Myers, when the Mercury asked him about the comparison, after the hearing. “It seems inappropriate to me.”
Myers said the intent of the program is to limit people’s exposure to the criminal justice system by getting them drug treatment.
“Any kind of comparison to Hitler or the Nazis doesn’t seem appropriate,” he said.
EXTRA – Judge ponders whether Portland police violate Constitution with secret list, Oregonian 2 25 2009