Skip to Content

Hummel calls for major Oregon criminal justice reforms, outlines own steps

(Update: Adding video, Hummel comments, comments from Bend PD chief)

Calls for police body camera requirement, ban on chokeholds unless deadly force justified, urges M. 11 repeal, statewide vote on repealing death penalty

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel on Monday strongly urged Oregon officials and lawmakers to make major police and justice reform efforts, from requiring policy body cameras to repealing Measure 11 and sending a death penalty repeal to voters.

Speaking to reporters and the public in front of the county courthouse, Hummel outlined a dozen changes he wants to see happen at the state level while also outlining his and his office's efforts to address the issues that have sparked protests across the country in the wake of George Floyd's deaths.

"The vast majority of the time, officers get it right, and the camera will help them. Sometimes, they get it wrong," Hummel said. "It’s our criminal justice system, and we have the right to know what is happening."

Bend Police Chief Jim Porter told NewsChannel 21 Monday he agrees with the proposed changes Hummel set forth.

“Officers holding each other accountable and supervisors holding each other accountable is already in our policy," Porter said. "Officers are required to report misconduct of other officers.”

But Porter said he is concerned about how Hummel's proposed ban on chokeholds, although he agrees they should only be used when deadly force is justified.

Porter said Bend police officers are trained not to use chokeholds in the common restraint of individuals, and are told they are only to be used as a last resort, in emergency situations.

"Chokeholds or any holds around the neck are currently classified as a use of deadly force, and that's where they should be," Porter said. "It's a tool that officers use as a last result, and to eliminate those totally would be taking away a tool from officers, when they're defending themselves or others."

Hummel, who held a moment of silence to honor Floyd and others killed by police, also talked about the criminal justice reforms he's overseen during his career, from decriminalization of marijuana to urging passage of legislation that under Measure 11 no longer automatically charges children in adult court.

Hummel acknowledged that his call for action comes with full appreciation of having been priveleged to be born as a white male American into a family of means, and as such, he doesn't know what it's like to walk our streets as a black man.

Maya Hopwood, 18, who spoke at the Bend Black Lives Matter rally on Sunday, said she agrees with many of the proposed changes Hummel announced, especially requiring officers to use body-worn cameras and keep them accountable.

"If no one's there to witness it, how do you know if they’re telling the truth?" Hopwood said. "Especially with George Floyd, there were other officers there. You don’t want to give them time to change up their story. You want to interview everybody right then. Requiring cameras is a good idea, because there are not always going to be witnesses.”

The DA said it's incumbent for him to educate himself about the experiences of people of color, and to be their ally. "But at the end of the day, it is people of color who know what is best for people of color," Hummel said.

Hummel, who was at one point questioned by members of the crowd, also spoke of the recent claims against his office by one of his former deputy district attorneys, Jasmyn Troncoso.

Troncoso, a Mexican-American, recently filed a tort notice of a possible lawsuit, alleging she experienced race and sex discrimination, and a "toxic sex- and race-based hostile work environment" among co-workers in the DA’s office.

Hummel said he has hired a private investigator to find the truth behind her claims.

"If it turns out what Jasmyn said happened happened, I will first, apologize to her privately," Hummel said. "Second, I will apologize to this community. Third, I will compensate her. And fourth, I will develop policies and procedures to ensure it never happens again. Don't think for a second I stand for that!"

The DA said he sent legislative leaders a letter Monday, calling on the Oregon Legislature to take several steps, such as a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds by police unless "deadly physical force is justified." He also called for the repeal of Measure 11 and other mandatory minimum sentences.

Hummel also called on Congress to pass the Justice in Policing Act, which includes Senator Jeff Merkley’s proposal to create a national database of law enforcement officer misconduct. 

Hummel said Merkley’s proposal would facilitate greater oversight and accountability across America, and help ensure that police officers who have been removed from their jobs for misconduct are not simply able to find a new job as a police officer in a different jurisdiction.

“We can’t legislate away racism or wave a wand to change culture, but we can make sure that there are mechanisms in place to hold people accountable for wrongdoing,” Merkley said. “That’s why I will join with my Senate colleagues to introduce a comprehensive Justice in Policing Act, including a national database of police misconduct and other reforms we need to honor the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others who should be with us today.

"But while federal legislation can help drive change, ultimately it’s going to take efforts at the local level to thoughtfully tackle some of the systemic failures that have undermined America’s promise of equal justice under law, and I appreciate DA Hummel helping lead that effort in Deschutes County,” Merkley said in a statement.

As for his own and his office's actions, Hummel said he will no longer seek or accept campaign donations or endorsements from police, their unions or defense attorneys. He also said he's developing new programs to better assist "emerging adults" suspected of certain crimes, as well as veterans, to get "the attention and treatment appropriate for them."

“In George Floyd’s final moments of life, he said: "They're going to kill me."  No George, those officers did not kill you; they lit a fire in our country," Hummel said. "The young protesters from shore to shore stoked it.  And all of us responded. 

"Today, I am doing my small part, by using my words, and my position of privilege, to advocate for the change that George Floyd gave his life to achieve.  Let’s make our criminal justice system what we know if should be.  Rest in Peace George Floyd. Black Lives Matter!”  

A community member on hand for the event asked Hummel why he's calling on lawmakers to fund police on new technology, such as bodycams, and his thoughts on "defunding the police."

Hummel said he does support reallocating some funds from police to other areas, such as education.

Here's Hummel's list of law and policy changes he wants addressed:


  1. Attorney General to lead investigation and prosecution, if necessary, of incidents involving officers who kill people in the line of duty.
  2. Dedicated unit established in the Oregon Department of Justice and funded by the Oregon Legislature.
  3. Law enforcement agencies required to outfit their officers with body worn cameras:
  4. Oregon Legislature establishes and funds grant program for purchase of cameras and storage of data.
  5. Law enforcement officers involved in the use of deadly physical force are subject to immediate interview:
  6. Many local governments enter into agreements with law enforcement unions that prohibit interviewing officers involved in the use of deadly physical force for 24, 48, or 72 hours.
  7. Law enforcement officers required to report all misconduct committed by their colleagues:
  8. Similar to the requirement that attorneys in Oregon report ethical misconduct committed by other attorneys (Oregon Rule of Professional Responsibility Conduct 8.3).
  9. Law enforcement use of chokehold and strangleholds prohibited unless deadly physical force is justified.
  10. Death penalty referred to the people of Oregon for a repeal vote.
  11. Measure 11 and other mandatory minimum sentences repealed (other than true life for aggravated murder).
  12. Creation of a national database of law enforcement officer misconduct.


  1. Going forward, I will no longer seek or accept, donations or endorsements from law enforcement unions, law enforcement officers, and criminal law defense attorneys.
  2. Developing an emerging adult program to provide people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are suspected of committing certain crimes the attention and treatment appropriate for them, considering brain science informs us that adolescent brains continue to develop until people are approximately 25 years of age.
  3. Developing a program to provide veterans suspected of committing certain crimes the attention and treatment appropriate for them.
  4. The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office will partner with Allyship in Action to advance equity and social justice in our office through customized assessment, education, and long-range planning and support.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content