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Posted: 11/25/2001 11:19:25 AM EDT
Portland, OR Police Resist Homeland Gestapo! Via NY Transfer News * All the News That Doesn't Fit Wednesday November 21 8:14 PM ET (via Yahoo) Portland Won't Aid in Terror Roundups By WILLIAM McCALL, Associated Press Writer PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Portland police are refusing to help the FBI question Middle Eastern immigrants hauled in as part of the terror investigation, saying the practice violates Oregon law. The Justice Department asked local law enforcement agencies around the country for help tracking down 5,000 men for questioning about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But acting Police Chief Andrew Kirkland refused. "The law does not allow us to go out and arbitrarily interview people whose only offense is immigration or citizenship," he said Tuesday. U.S. Attorney Michael Mosman, the chief federal prosecutor in Oregon, said the questioning is legal, but added: "I'm supportive of their right to decide not to do this particular task." The FBI refused to comment. Mayor Vera Katz on Wednesday said the city objected to certain questions that would be asked of those on the list. She did not offer details but said police may reconsider if the questions are changed. Civil rights activists applauded the city's decision. "These young men of Middle Eastern descent are being rounded up for questioning without any basis or suspicion or probable cause. So basically it comes down to racial profiling. It isn't OK with African-Americans so it shouldn't be OK for any other racial group or ethnic group," said Zaha Hassan of the Middle East subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild. Mosman said the list of 5,000 was drawn up to gather information and denied it was akin to profiling. "It's just because we know less than we need to know about terrorism, and this is a way to learn more," he said. In San Francisco, police spokesman Jim Deignan said there had been no formal FBI request for help from the city, but "we'll cooperate with the federal authorities." In Minneapolis, police spokewoman Cyndi Montgomery said the police chief would look closely at any request to help with interviews. "The department hasn't made a decision as to whether such interviewed might conflict with racial profiling policies," she said.
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