After a last-minute intervention in Portland Mayor Sam Adams‘ office by a friend of a man fatally shot in 2005 by Portland Police Officer Leo Besner, it appears Besner will be promoted today to sergeant.
(Update 1:23 pm: Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson confirms Besner was promoted in a ceremony this morning.)
Besner is atop the Police Bureau’s list of candidates for sergeant. The city previously paid out $500,000 to settle a lawsuit over Besner’s controversial shooting five years ago of Raymond Gwerder.
Jesse Cornett, a former City Council candidate and a friend of Gwerder’s, met with Adams at 4:30 pm Wednesday to plead that Besner not be promoted. Gwerder’s sister, Bobbie Jo Foster, also wrote a letter to Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese opposing Besner’s promotion.
Cornett says he left his meeting with Adams, who serves as police commissioner, uncertain whether Besner would receive his sergeant’s stripes today.
“[The mayor] gave me no reason to believe he either would or would not,” Cornett says. “He gave me no reason to hope or despair.”
Adams did not respond to WW’s request for comment. But Adams posted a cryptic message online this morning which seems to allude to the Besner promotion.
One could interpret this message to mean that Besner will make sergeant because Adams is trusting Reese to make promotions. But the note also seems to suggest that Adams may look into the issue of tort claims and whether they should count against officers in performance reviews.
The Police Bureau has not yet responded to a request for comment about whether Besner will be promoted.