Portland Police Capt. Mark Kruger
, whose interest in Nazi memorabilia first surfaced in 2003
, has found himself back in the news.
The Oregonian reported last week
that the Portland Police Performance Review Board has determined Kruger brought "discredit upon the (police) bureau and the city" by erecting plaques as part of a Nazi memorial in Rocky Butte Park sometime between 1999 and 2001. And the newspaper reported the city attorney's office, which was defending Kruger as a city employee in lawsuits, "had stashed away" the plaques in a litigation file for at least six years.
We called the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland
to ask what it makes of the whole mess.
“It's very troubling to us that there would be a Portland police officer who was allegedly collecting Nazi memorabilia," says Bob Horenstein, the federation's director of community relations. "It would be hard for us to understand how someone who is put in charge of protecting the community could be a Nazi sympathizer."
But Horenstein stopped short of calling for Kruger to be fired or of criticizing the city attorney's office.
“That's going to be ultimately up to them," Horenstein says of the Police Bureau, which is now managed by Mayor Sam Adams. “As far as ... the city attorney's role, I have no comment on that."
Commissioner Dan Saltzman
called for the investigation into Kruger's background last October when Saltzman was still police commissioner. Horenstein praised Saltzman for starting the investigation.
Horenstein says the situation reminds him of Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, who got into trouble recently for repeatedly ridiculing an openly gay University of Michigan student
on a personal blog. Generally speaking, Horenstein says he understands the freedom of speech issues in both that case and the Kruger case, but adds, "You can't have someone who's in a (law enforcement) position who's a Nazi sympathizer. And you can't have someone who's an assistant attorney general out there harassing an individual and infringing on their freedoms.
“The two obviously contradict one another," Horenstein says. "Hopefully, the Portland Police and the City of Portland will act accordingly.”