An internal investigation conducted by the Portland Police Bureau discovered that an officer, who formerly served as president of the police union, leaked the news of a traffic complaint against the City Commissioner, Jo Ann Hardesty.
According to a document released on Thursday, the officer leaked the information in retaliation over Hardesty’s criticism of the force.
On March 4, The Oregonian and OregonLive reported on the complaint. Later on in the day, police discovered that a woman’s call to police saying Hardesty bumped into her car in traffic then left was actually a case of mistaken identity.
An internal investigation was then launched to try to learn who was responsible for the media finding out about the traffic complaint.
According to a letter, Brian Hunzeker, the president at the time of the Portland Police Association, “disseminated confidential information to the media in retaliation for you speaking negatively about Portland Police Bureau Officers.” The letter was written from Internal Affairs Lt. Scott Konczal to Hardesty.
Investigators also found that two other officers, Kerri Ottoman and Ken Le, also leaked the news of the investigation to others, violating the department’s policy. The letter also confirms for the first time that the information was leaked by Hunzeker as an act of retaliation.
“There were many reasons Officer Hunzeker cited as the driving factors for why he shared the information and one of those factors, he admits, was in response to Commissioner Hardesty’s false allegation about officers setting fires during the civil unrest,” wrote North Precinct Commander Kristina Jones.
Hardesty said in July that she did not think protesters in Portland were actually setting fires in the city, rather, it was “a police action.” She added that the police were sending “saboteurs and provocateurs” into crowds in order to justify their use of force. After her statements were met with stiff pushback, Hardesty quickly apologized.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: OREGON LIVE