Former Cops Union Leader Leaked Fake News of Hardesty in Retaliation | Oregon News


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – An internal Portland Police Bureau investigation confirmed that the former police union president disclosed allegations against City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty in retaliation for her criticism of officers .

A months-long internal affairs investigation into a Portland Police Office leak found officers Brian Hunzeker, Kerri Ottoman and Ken Le leaked the false information, according to an October disposition letter sent to Hardesty and obtained on Thursday. by Oregon Public Broadcasting in an application for public registration, the outlet reported.

The letter, which Hardesty and the city did not want to publish, gives public confirmation of the facts behind the leak after much speculation.

The letter is a summary of the findings of the internal affairs investigation into seven allegations against the officers involved. The investigation examined whether the leaks were racially motivated and whether it was in retaliation for Hardesty’s outspoken criticism of the police.

Investigation found that Hunzeker, who was president of the union representing base officers at the time, disclosed the false allegations to The Oregonian / OregonLive and provided a reporter with a screenshot of a dispatch report. indicating that Hardesty had been involved in a traffic accident. .

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Ottoman disclosed the same information to Gabriel Johnson, the director of the Conservative Coalition to Save Portland PAC. The investigation also revealed that Le leaked the information to a friend in the Emergency Communications Office who worked as a dispatcher.

On the same day, Hardesty was ruled out as a suspect in the accident. The actual driver was a female who lives in Vancouver, Washington, police and prosecutors have said.

The internal affairs letter confirms for the first time that Hunzeker disclosed the information as an act of retaliation against Hardesty.

“There were many reasons that Officer Hunzeker cited as the determining factors he shared the information and one of those factors, he admits, was in response to Commissioner Hardesty’s false claim that officers allegedly set ablaze during the civil unrest, ”said Kristina Jones, North Constituency Commander. wrote.

Hardesty had said she did not think the Portland protesters were setting fires in the city and that it was “police action”. Hardesty apologized for his statements after strong reluctance.

The investigation did not reveal that race was a motivator for the leaks, according to the letter.

It was not clear what disciplinary action, if any, Hunzeker, Ottoman or Le might face. The internal affairs investigation was submitted to the city’s Police Review Board in October. Once the investigation is complete, this panel will forward the information to the Chief, in consultation with Mayor Ted Wheeler, who acts as the city’s police commissioner.

Sgt. Kevin Allen, a spokesperson for the police bureau, said despite the letter’s publication, the internal affairs investigation was still ongoing.

“The letter of findings is just part of the process and the internal investigation is not complete,” Allen told The Oregonian / OregonLive. “The chief said he was inclined, once the disciplinary decision was made, to take the unusual step of disclosing the results of the internal investigation of a city employee due to the unique circumstances of this case.”

Earlier this month, Hardesty filed a $ 5 million lawsuit against Hunzeker, Ottoman, the police union and the city.

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