July 3rd, 2013 2:00 pm | by ANDREA DAMEWOOD and AARON MESH News | Posted In: Cops and Courts

Police Union: Baruti Artharee's Discipline Sets Bad Example for Officers

news3_3913IMAGE: V. Kapoor

Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner says Mayor Charlie Hales' one-week suspension of public safety policy adviser Baruti Artharee doesn't go far enough—and a cop's discipline would have been much more harsh.

Artharee's discipline, announced July 1, rankled many local leaders who told WW that Hales should have fired Artharee, who came under fire for inappropriate comments he made at a June 6 dinner toward Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith.

Hales said yesterday that he is keeping Artharee because he is crucial to reforming the police bureau.

"I like Baruti; I've had good interactions and conversations with him," Turner says. "But I think it was less than a slap on the wrist. I think a police officer would have gotten much more discipline for the same kind of conduct. It's another example of our leaders, who are supposed to be held to a higher standard, being treated differently."

Hales, who was asked Tuesday by WW how Baruti's suspension will affect a bureau with its own history of sexual misconduct, says he thinks the discipline was appropriate. The mayor called Artharee's punishment a "teachable moment" for the bureau's 1,000 officers.

"One of the messages of what I've done here is that there are consequences for when you don't follow the rules," Hales says. "This wasn't designed as a teachable moment for the police bureau, but it is one: That nobody's exempt, the rules apply to everybody, and if you screw up, there's discipline. And certainly the fact that Baruti has been subject to that discipline, and has accepted it in an adult way, is I hope a good reminder to everybody that that's the deal—the rules apply to everybody."

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