The City of Portland
has offered $21,000 to settle a lawsuit by a police officer
who claimed he suffered retaliation after voicing concern about one of the cops involved in the death of James Chasse Jr
Officer Tom Brennan
was transferred from patrol duty to working in the Police Bureau property room last January. The move came shortly after Brennan expressed concern about a heated encounter he said he witnessed between Sgt. Kyle Nice
and two homeless street musicians. Nice was involved in Chasse's 2006 in-custody death
Brennan first expressed concerns about Nice in November 2009 to his Central Precinct commander, Mike Reese
, who has since become the police chief. When Reese failed to act, Brennan went public about his concerns. He fired off a letter to the media and to then-Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman
Reese responded by saying the bureau had fully investigated Brennan's claims—although Brennan said the homeless men in the incident with Nice were never interviewed. Then in January, managers yanked Brennan from patrol duty and transferred him to the property room, where his job was cataloging evidence. He was the first sworn officer ever given that menial job.
Three months later, on April 3, Nice pulled his gun on a motorist
in an off-duty road-rage incident in Washington County. The city now faces a separate $145,000 lawsuit
by that motorist.
Brennan, meanwhile, was returned to patrol duty in July—two months after Reese took over as police chief. Brennan says he was given his first choice of assignments, working in North Precinct with the African-American community.
Brennan tells WW
he agreed to settle for $21,000 because the managers responsible for moving him are now gone. Rosie Sizer
, who was chief at the time, retired after Mayor Sam Adams fired her as chief
in May. And Brian Martinek
, the assistant chief whom Brennan says assigned him to the property room, also left the bureau after Sizer was canned.
"The people responsible are now collecting over-inflated retirement," Brennan says. "There was going to be no accountability."