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Mayor Ted Wheeler Calls for Independent Review Into False Accusation Against Commissioner Hardesty

“I deeply regret what Commissioner Hardesty experienced and I’m determined to find out what happened and to prevent it from happening again," Wheeler said.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called Friday evening for an independent review into the false claim made March 3 accusing Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty of being involved in a minor hit-and-run.

"What happened to Commissioner Hardesty is wrong and unacceptable," Wheeler said in a statement Friday. "It's a reflection of broader systemic racism and it must be addressed. We need to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. No one should be subjected to false accusations."

The mayor's office says Wheeler is coordinating the review with the city attorney, Hardesty and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell. Wheeler's office says he has asked Lovell to expedite the fact-finding process.

On Thursday morning, a right-wing Facebook group called Coalition to Save Portland, and later, The Oregonian, published details from on an incident report that falsely identified Hardesty as the driver who rear-ended another car and fled the scene in a Wednesday afternoon hit-and-run.

On Thursday afternoon, the bureau announced that it had cleared Hardesty as a suspect. But the incident prompted questions about how the information was leaked and what political motives were at play. The group that published the leaked report has financial ties to the Police Bureau and claims the report was leaked by a bureau employee.

"We need to meet our toughest critics' every test with a comprehensive, detailed and independent review," Wheeler said Friday. "I deeply regret what Commissioner Hardesty experienced and I'm determined to find out what happened and to prevent it from happening again."

The Police Bureau has not yet issued a public statement relating to the incident.