A man who was the victim of police misconduct in Oregon gained national attention due to the large size of his settlement agreement and the extent of police corruption involved.
The victim was the employee of a towing company in the southeast section of the city of Portland. The incident initially started as a workplace dispute, where he made others aware of the fact that he thought he was being discriminated against since his hiring in 2015. Because the victim’s boss was friends with the police chief of the town of West Linn, some officers from that department began to build a bogus theft case that included stealing things from his workplace. He was eventually arrested on these trumped up theft charges in 2017.
After the victim was put in jail, the charges were dropped a short time later. Court documents showed that he had never stolen anything, and his boss was retaliating over the possibility of a racial discrimination lawsuit. Both the former chief of West Linn and other officers who were involved were named in the civil lawsuit, and most of them are no longer employed by the department. Others who were implicated were placed on administrative leave, but it is doubtful any of them will ever work for police departments in the area again after the publicity tied to the scandal.
An attorney who represented the man during the course of his lawsuit said this was an outrageous case of police misconduct. He said there is absolutely no reason for law enforcement to ever use their authority for personal matters. The case was so strange because the West Linn officers would not have jurisdiction in that workplace in Portland, and the incident had nothing to do with their legitimate job duties. The case ended with the victim being awarded $600,000 for a wrongful arrest through a settlement.
The West Linn Police will be subjected to investigations and oversight by both federal and state agencies, including the Clackamas District Attorney, after this incident. The local district attorney who oversees the city of Portland will also be investigating to see if any officers from his jurisdiction were involved. Additional disciplinary actions may be taken based on their findings, especially if the prosecutors believe that other cases may have been corrupted by their actions.
The victim stated that he was relieved that justice was served after he had been dealing with the aftermath of the incident since 2017. He said he has forgiven the officers involved, but he will live with the memory of what they did, and he hopes the case will be a lesson to others. The new incoming chief for West Linn also addressed the public to help alleviate concerns about misconduct.
Police misconduct and false arrest
A common form of police misconduct is for officers to arrest someone for bogus reasons. Even if they know that the charges will be dropped later, this is usually done because of a personal grudge, even if there is absolutely no law enforcement purpose to detaining the individual. Procedural crimes such as resisting arrest and obstruction of justice are often added to arrest documentation as a way to justify these actions.