October 15th, 2009 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts

Rosie Sizer Tells Entire Police Bureau She Supports Embattled Capt. Mark Kruger

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Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer wouldn't comment for our story this week about Mark Kruger, the Central Precinct captain accused in a new YouTube video of ties to Nazism.

But a few hours after the story hit newsstands Wednesday, Sizer sent out an email (PDF) to the entire Police Bureau saying she stands behind Kruger. Sizer promoted Kruger last year despite long-standing allegations about his past.

"I would not have promoted Mark to captain if I felt at any time the allegations were true," Sizer says in the email. "I supported him then and I support him now."

It's not clear which allegations Sizer is referring to. Kruger told WW that he has worn Nazi-era uniforms with swastikas as part of World War II re-enactments, that he was married in Germany near the site of Hitler's Berghof, and that he built a memorial to dead World War II German soldiers on Rocky Butte while he was a Portland cop. He told WW he does not sympathize with Nazi ideology in any way.

Sizer has not yet replied to email and phone messages seeking comment, but we will update this post with her comments when she does.

Sizer's email says that she has attached a court document. Allegations against Kruger first arose in 2003 and 2004 when anti-war protesters were suing the city over alleged excessive force by Kruger and other cops.

"The reporter who wrote about this was supplied a legal deposition in which this person recant(s) the allegations he is making against Mark," Sizer wrote in the email she sent bureau-wide yesterday. "Since the reporter chose not to use it, we are providing it to you so you may see the truth firsthand."

If it is indeed the same document the bureau provided to WW, the document (PDF) is not a deposition. It's a memorandum filed by city lawyers, who were fighting the plaintiffs' request for further deposition of Kruger. The memo argues there was no need to further question Kruger. U.S. District Court Judge Ancer Haggerty later agreed, denying the plaintiffs' request.

In the memo, a city of Portland lawyer reproduces brief sections of depositions by Robert Seaver and Robert Williams, two of Kruger's former friends who came forward to assist the plaintiffs' lawyers by describing Kruger's alleged Nazi ties.

WW's story on Wednesday quotes Seaver, a self-described former racist and Nazi sympathizer who says he spoke out against Kruger to atone for his own past. We could not locate Williams for comment.

One of Williams' original allegations was that he rode in a car with Kruger and Seaver, who were allegedly listening to tapes of Hitler and shouting racist and homophobic insults at people in passing.

But in the city's memorandum from 2004, Seaver is quoted as agreeing with city attorneys that he couldn't specifically remember Kruger shouting insults out the window. Seaver is also quoted as agreeing with city attorneys that after Kruger became a cop, Seaver never saw Kruger display inappropriate behavior to minorities when Seaver went with Kruger on police ride-alongs.

Here's what Seaver told WW by email last week about the alleged Hitler-speech rides:
One thing we did was to drive around Portland in my car, listening to Hitler speeches and Nazi marching music. Robert Williams, another CAP [Civilian Air Patrol] cadet, rode around with us a few times, too. Years later, Williams contacted Alan Graf [a lawyer for the protesters] and said that we also yelled at people. I don't remember doing that, but we very likely did. Because we were heavily into all that Nazi and racist stuff. Williams was not though, he was just along for the ride.

Seaver stands by his statements to WW that Kruger made demeaning remarks about homeless people, minorities and the disabled after he became a cop. Seaver says he couldn't recall some of those episodes during his deposition.

As for Sizer using the 2004 court memorandum to defend Kruger, Seaver points out the document was prepared by city attorneys and quotes only selective portions of his statements. Seaver says he testified that Kruger "probably did" yell insults out the window, but the city's memo never mentions that.

"I'd forgotten the lengths that the city will go to when they want to defend one of their people like this," says Seaver, a former legal aide at the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office. "What the city is trying to do here, rather than just be honest, is to try and whitewash who Kruger is."
 
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