PORTLAND NEEDS WILLAMETTE WEEK.
NOW WILLAMETTE WEEK NEEDS YOU.

The need for strong, independent local journalism
is more urgent than ever. Please support the city we
love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

Police Union For Commanding Officers Slams Portland Officials For Condemning Controversial Texts With Right-Wing Activist

"As Portland Police Commissioner [Wheeler] has failed to develop an understanding of even basic police work," the union said in a statement.

The union that represents commanding officers in the Portland Police Bureau slammed three city officials for condemning texts sent by a lieutenant to a far-right activist.

The press release, announcing that the Portland Police Commanding Officers Association filed workplace complaints against Mayor Ted Wheeler, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, shows an extraordinary hostility between the police and the city's elected officials.

"Mayor Ted Wheeler's statement about our communications with Patriot Prayer organizers is either disingenuous or shows willful ignorance of the situation," the union president Lt. Craig Morgan said in a statement. "Either way it shows that during his two years as Portland Police Commissioner he has failed to develop an understanding of even basic police work."

The union filed complaints with the city's Bureau of Human Resources alleging that statements by the elected officials violate a rule that prohibits "workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation."

The allegations come after Wheeler, Hardesty and Eudaly called for an independent investigation of police communications with far-right groups after WW and the Portland Mercury revealed hundreds of texts between Lt. Jeff Niiya and Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson.

The texts raise questions about whether Portland police treat groups on the left and right differently. The messages also show a cozy relationship between Niiya and Gibson, in which the police officer offers advice to keep one of Gibson's core followers out of jail.

"Our job is to keep the people of Portland safe," Morgan said in today's statement. "That means building bridges and developing cordial relationships with diverse groups and individuals. We have regular open communication with the mayor's office about our work and the tactics we employ. This situation is no different."