Larry Wenzel, 52, a deputy at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested Jan. 31 for allegedly punching and then choking his wife.
He was indicted on charges of felony assault earlier this week, and is currently in Clackamas County Jail. He lives in Gladstone, according to court records.
At a Feb. 1 hearing, prosecutor Daniel Paul outlined what allegedly happened the night of Jan. 31. “The underlying allegations are very concerning in the extreme,” Paul said.
Wenzel had been on an “alcoholic binge” for two days when his wife finally had enough of the insults and intimidation, prosecutors said. She told him she was going to stay in a hotel.
At that point, she told police, “Wenzel’s face went white and he pushed her to the ground.” He punched her in the face, prosecutors say, put his arms around her neck, and squeezed until she struggled to breathe.
He told her he was going to kill himself. She feared for her life.
“He has access to firearms,” Paul said. “He’s indicated he is suicidal. There’s a real concern that he’s a risk.”
Wenzel has been a sheriff’s deputy in Multnomah County for 25 years. He made headlines in 2017 after he helped federal immigration agents locate and arrest two men on pretrial release under his supervision.
(Both of the arrests came just weeks before Multnomah County commissioners officially declared it a “sanctuary county,” ending law enforcement cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Wenzel was investigated and cleared of wrongdoing. “At the time of Wenzel’s interaction with ICE, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office had been quietly cooperating with ICE for years,” the investigator wrote.)
Wenzel has had a history of problems with alcohol. He pleaded guilty to a DUII in 2020.
In this case, the judge set bail at $75,000 and ordered Wenzel to have no contact with his wife. Wenzel has yet to be assigned an attorney.