The City of Springfield is holding a virtual public forum Thursday evening for community members to share their experience at a Black Lives Matter protest in the Thurston neighborhood last July. The information is part of an external investigation into the city police department’s use of force during the protest.
The investigation is in response to SPD dragging, hitting, and using tasers on people during a Black Unity protest on July 29. Now community members can help external investigator Rick Braziel’s research by sharing their experiences at the protest during a virtual public forum, or by sending information directly to Braziel.
City of Springfield Public Information Officer Amber Fossen said anything provided to Braziel through his email account is confidential, and not subject to a public records request. She said those materials will either be returned to the owner or destroyed after the conclusion of his investigation.
The investigation—which is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 31—will include a report summarizing his findings and recommendations for the city and SPD to address potential policy issues presented in the report. Fossen said more information on next steps for the City of Springfield and SPD to potentially implement new changes will be discussed after the conclusion of the investigation.
“I think I’d be getting too far ahead of myself, to be honest, to answer that,” said Fossen. “I think it’s a matter of what his findings determine and what his recommendations are. And then our leadership will have an opportunity to review and assess.”
Community members can submit comments in writing or through video in an email to Braziel at email@example.com. Or community members can send a letter to the Springfield City Manager’s Office: 225 Fifth Street, Springfield, OR 97477.
The deadline to submit feedback is Dec. 31.
The virtual forum will be Thursday, Dec. 10, from 6-7:30 p.m. Participants will have three minutes to provide a statement.