If Portland riot cops respond to civil unrest that's widely expected following the Nov. 3 election, the officer wearing the number 67 on his helmet won't be among them.
That officer was pulled from duty on the Portland Police Bureau's rapid response team last month, Mayor Ted Wheeler said, after WW reported detailed allegations of his forceful actions toward people in the streets near protests. His accusers did not know his name because PPB rules allow him to cover his name tag, but they identified him by the number on his helmet.
The Police Bureau and Mayor Wheeler, who is also police commissioner, have repeatedly declined to release the officer's name. Wheeler's office says city attorneys told the mayor that releasing his name could jeopardize pending investigations and the chance for appropriate discipline.
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the council's longest-serving member, says the city's contract with the Portland police union ties officials' hands. "The union contract says that council members are not allowed to 'embarrass' officers, for instance, by naming them," she wrote on Twitter on Oct. 21.
But the press has no contract with the Portland Police Association. Photographs and three eyewitness accounts identify the officer wearing helmet number 67 as Detective Erik Kammerer.
Doug Brown, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, has photographed Kammerer on multiple occasions at street protests. He provided WW photos taken in February that display Kammerer's name tag on an officer sporting the helmet number 67.
Brown said Officer 67's actions first came to his attention after reading WW's first story about Elijah Warren, a Black homeowner who was struck from behind in the head by Officer 67 ("Who Hit Elijah Warren?" WW, Sept. 30, 2020).
Brown said he recognized the officer from a previous photograph he'd taken in February at a rally Kammerer was policing. "I didn't think about this dude until seeing specifically [the WW story] and being infuriated by Officer 67 and the city hiding his identity," Brown says. "I went and I searched Officer 67 on Twitter. I went, 'Oh, shoot, I took pictures of this guy.'"
Brown says he's certain of the match, because of details in the fit of his uniform and the style of his helmet. "It's 100% him, in the same way a quarter is 25 cents," Brown says.
Kammerer is a 26-year veteran of the bureau. He's a homicide detective. WW was unable to obtain his disciplinary records by press deadlines.
It's unclear whether he has been suspended while the allegations against him are investigated. Police officials this week provided WW the names of officers currently on administrative leave but redacted two names, citing exemptions to the Oregon Public Records Law for officers who are undercover, have experienced threats to their safety, or would have their privacy invaded by the release of information.
For weeks, activists on social media have pointed to Kammerer as the owner of helmet 67. But WW is publishing his name only after receiving multiple first-person accounts and photographic evidence.
Lesley McLam is a videographer who told WW of her two violent encounters this year with Officer 67. She says she saw his name tag before officers started covering them up under a new bureau policy this summer.
"I noticed the officer's name because it was early in June and I was able to look at his name label because they weren't fully covered," McLam said. "That's why I know that on that particular day in early June when I'm being shoved down the sidewalk that officer, his name tag, said Kammerer."
Juan Chavez, an attorney with Oregon Justice Resource Center, is representing a woman named Hannah Ahern who is in the process of filing a tort claim against Kammerer for an incident that happened in 2019.
Ahern, 25, was leaving work downtown last August. The Proud Boys were in town and a counterprotest was underway. She was heading to the bus stop when she spat on the sidewalk in officers' direction.
The video shows an officer, wearing helmet number 67, order a group of officers to arrest Ahern who then forcefully pin her to the pavement. She is filing the tort claim for unlawful arrest and battering.
The police report was filed by Kammerer, who alleges to have seen her interfering with traffic and ordered her arrest. "It's pretty conclusive as far as I'm concerned," Chavez says. "There's only one officer who matches the description who was in the same general vicinity where Kammerer said he was and is seen in the videos identifying Hannah for arrest."
Kammerer did not return calls seeking comment. Wheeler's office responded to WW's questions about Kammerer with a statement on behalf of the city, saying it could not confirm or deny his identity.
"The city of Portland holds its police officers to high standards and takes appropriate action when those standards are not met," said Wheeler spokesman Jim Middaugh in the statement. "The city of Portland also provides its union-represented and Civil Service Board-protected employees with due process, including its police officers. The complaints raised by Willamette Week and others about individual police officers currently are under active investigation."
The ACLU's Brown says not identifying officers allows them to act without regard for consequences.
"It's one thing to hide names and only put a number, but then to hide who's behind that number is shameful," Brown says. "You can see them act way more aggressive, doing these things in front of cameras as if they're never going to be held accountable."