Quantcast
Connect with us

Portland police chief under investigation after lying about friend’s ‘self-inflicted’ shooting

Published

on

Oregon city becomes latest police bureau marred by scandal amid accusations that chief Larry O’Dea covered up a hunting accident as ‘self-inflicted’ shooting

The police chief of Portland, Oregon was placed on leave in the wake of accusations that he accidentally shot a friend and lied about it to investigators in a widening scandal that has raised questions about a possible coverup.

ADVERTISEMENT

Police bureau chief Larry O’Dea shot a close friend in the back while hunting last month in Harney County, 350 miles east from Portland, according to officials investigating the case. He initially told local police that the injured man had accidentally shot himself.

The disclosure of the shooting one month after it happened and the revelation that O’Dea may have misled law enforcement in the aftermath have sparked widespread criticisms of the chief and Portland’s mayor, making the liberal west coast city the latest US municipality to be caught up in a major police misconduct controversy.

The San Francisco police chief resigned last week in the wake of numerous scandals, Oakland police are battling multiple officer misconduct allegations, and chiefs across the country have lost their jobs in the face of controversial cases over the last year.

Mayor Charlie Hales announced Tuesday that he has placed O’Dea on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. “We need our Police Bureau operating at its best, and our officers can’t do that when there’s turmoil and confusion surrounding their leader,” Hales said in a statement. “Chief O’Dea has been providing excellent service as our police chief, and now needs to focus on these investigations.”

On 21 April, the Harney County sheriff’s office responded to 911 call about a 54-year-old man who had been shot. Sheriff Dave Ward “was told that it was a self-inflicted accidental shooting”, according to a statement he released Monday.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Further information was gathered which contradicted this,” according to Ward’s office, which said O’Dea did not identify himself as a police chief or as an officer.

Ward did not learn of O’Dea’s background and his role in the shooting until 16 May, according to the sheriff.

Ward declined to comment further on Tuesday, but told the Oregonian that he only uncovered the truth when he interviewed the injured man last week.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The victim made it pretty clear he didn’t shoot himself,’’ Ward told the paper, noting that O’Dea and several companions had initially misled police. “The victim knew who shot him.’’

O’Dea has offered little comment about the case, which is now under investigation by Oregon state police and the state department of justice.

ADVERTISEMENT

Portland sergeant Peter Simpson described the shooting in an email as a “negligent discharge from [O’Dea’s] .22 caliber rifle that injured one of his very close friends”.

O’Dea added in a statement: “I’m very thankful that my friend is ok and I’m tremendously upset this happened.”

Simpson said O’Dea is barred from commenting further while the state police and internal investigations are pending.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ward and other critics have questioned why both the chief and Portland mayor, who serves as the city’s police commissioner, did not immediately disclose to Harney County investigators that O’Dea was the shooter.

Hales’ spokeswoman Sara Hottman wrote in an email: “There’s no reason the Mayor’s Office would contact the Harney County Sheriff’s Office; investigators would contact us if they had questions.”

Hales initially released a sympathetic statement last week, saying, “Larry O’Dea is a great chief, who is heartsick over hurting a friend.”

The state justice department declined to comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Teressa Raiford, a lead organizer with Don’t Shoot Portland, an activist group that has protested Portland police, said the scandal reflected systemic problems within the law enforcement agency.

“There’s no accountability. There’s no oversight,” said Raiford, who was recently acquitted on a charge that she obstructed traffic during a Black Lives Matter protest.

“I hope this breaks down that culture.”

When O’Dea stepped up as chief in 2015, activists hoped he would prioritize reforms.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We thought it was an opportunity for a new culture of accountability,” Raiford said. “Within one year, we’re not seeing that.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Rather than leading — he lies’: MSNBC panel says Trump is a ‘danger to the country’ because he can’t be trusted

Published

on

MSNBC commentators, former assistant US Attorney Maya Wiley and Rick Wilson, explained that President Donald Trump's most significant barrier is making it past his own lies to save America from the coronavirus.

"There's a case tonight being tested in Walton County, Florida. The heart of Trump country," said Wilson, referring to the panhandle county east of Pensacola. "That's not going to be something you can just walk away from if it turns out to be a real case. We're seeing these things popping up all over. The safe bet was always to say, 'This could be bad. We'll do everything we can to stop it.' But he can't stop himself from self-aggrandizing and lying about things. And it's actually -- setting aside my normal criticism of Trump -- this is a danger to the country that he is not a trustworthy person for the American people. Even people who like him now he BS's them all the time. Now, if he says it's not a problem and people are being hospitalized, it is a problem."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’

Published

on

President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.

According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.

"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."

"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical

Published

on

"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.

Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.

While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image