INTERNAL AFFAIRS

BEATEN, BADGERED AND BRUISED. WHERE CAN PHOENIX BLACKS AVENGE POLICE BRUTALITY?

The question that lingers is what sort of success Tillman will have with his proposals.

The spark that finally ignited the confrontation between Ortega and Tillman was the minister's letter demanding an explanation from the city of why the chief was investigating the minister's background.

The response from the city manager's office to Tillman's inquiry suggests both the possibilities and the pitfalls that must be faced.

Chief Ortega was not the least bit hesitant in admitting he'd been investigating the civil rights leader.

Confirming that he had indeed contacted law enforcement agencies in Tacoma, Washington, Ortega wrote to deputy city manager Pat Manion: "They reported that Mr. Tillman while there was more of a nuisance and hindrance instead of a positive factor. They felt he did more to deteriorate relationships with the NAACP. His constant allegations of racism by law enforcement forced them into a policy of little contact and communication with him. In essence, he was a pain in the neck to them and were relieved when he left the area."

Rather than examine Ortega's demeaning characterization, city manager Frank Fairbanks decided to put a public relations gloss on the chief's probe into Tillman's background.

On January 28, Fairbanks wrote the minister and acknowledged that the chief had checked up on Tillman, but "this contact with the Tacoma Police Department only involved discussions of ways to improve communication."

Had Phoenix officials taken the time to look into Ortega's allegations, they would have uncovered another perspective.

Tacoma deputy city manager James Walton said Oscar Tillman was a key player in turning around that city's relationship between law enforcement agencies and minorities.

"About three years ago, we had a terrible shooting up here and the police circled the wagons," said Walton. "There were three incidents in a row, bang bang bang. The city invited Reverend Tillman to help, and we'd never have done that if he were reckless or irresponsible. He was one of five or so people who served as a liaison between the black community and the police. Law enforcement does not take kindly to criticism, and they often accuse critics of being a loose cannon."

Tillman also worked with the Tacoma area Sheriff's Department. On April 20, 1989, he helped negotiate a mediation agreement with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department that called for the hiring of minorities in general and specifically for the review of "its current policy and procedures governing off-duty employment of commissioned law enforcement personnel in private security capacities."

This agreement was witnessed and co-signed by John Mathis, conciliator in the Community Relations Service in the U.S. Justice Department.

Because of the pressure Reverend Tillman has brought to bear, Chief Ortega has changed tactics.

When the minister met with assistant chief Bennie Click, Ortega stopped by and surprised Tillman by suggesting that he visit more often.

But Phoenix is not Tacoma.
Chief Ortega spent nearly a year trying to have the NAACP remove Tillman from office.

No one invited Reverend Tillman to participate. He kicked the door in.
The city manager's office has now twice attempted to smooth over problems: first, characterizing Chief Ortega's investigation of Reverend Tillman as an effort to improve communication; second, and more substantially, maintaining in the city's March 28 report that there was nothing wrong.

Reverend Oscar Tillman has bulled his way into the corridors of Phoenix power, and now he must demonstrate that he can achieve his original goals without being compromised.

One man expects nothing less.
"Oscar was on the cutting edge of everything that occurred with the minority community and the Tacoma police," said Dr. Carl Brown, for six years the president of that region's branch of the NAACP. "That is not an impression, it is a truth. What your police chief said about Oscar being a `pain in the neck' sounds like the image your chief has of Tillman. Phoenix must be a strange and unique place." end part 3 of 3

Despite Kobelka's documented propensity toward violence, the department gave him permission to moonlight.

Almost one year to the day after the beating, McCree collapsed from a brainstem stroke because of blood clots.

"After we told them we were registered and showed them the key, the cops continued to badger us," said McCree.

®MDBU¯Must use this pullquote

"In just an instant, the suspect began to crumble under the effects of the choke hold."

®MDBU¯The following pullquote should appear on the same page as the picture of Fay Wasp. Thx! DJB.

She wrings her hands, whispers and begins to shake as she recounts the events of that evening.

"If you don't get back in the car, they're going to take you out of here in a body bag."

®MDBU¯The following pullquote should appear on the same page as the picture of Jermond Ransom. Thx! DJB.

"They didn't need dogs to find me. I wasn't hid that good."

®MDBU¯®MDBU¯The following pullquote is a must use. Thx! DJB.

Chief Ortega spent nearly a year trying to have the NAACP remove Tillman from office.

®MDBU¯Please try to use the following pullquote if possible. Thx! DJB

"Law enforcement does not take kindly to criticism, and they often accuse critics of being a loose cannon.

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