Three Portland Police Bureau officers are facing internal review—and berated by Mayor Charlie Hales' office—after posting Facebook status updates showing their PPB badges emblazoned with the slogan, "I am Darren Wilson."
Officers Rich Storm, Rob Blanck and Kris Barber all changed their
Facebook profile pictures over the weekend to an image of an official
Portland Police badge wrapped diagonally in a blue solidarity bracelet
with the text in white.
Wilson is the Ferguson, Mo. police officer who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown this summer. A grand jury verdict is expected in his case today.
The Portland Mercury first reported the Facebook posts this morning.
Police Chief Mike Reese responded by ordering the officers to remove the images, and saying they may be subject to internal review.
"The image displayed does not represent this organization and was very inflammatory in nature," Reese said in a statement.
Hales released a statement this morning, saying the three officers' posts had undermined City Hall efforts to avoid conflict in the wake of the Wilson verdict.
"The officers made a political statement by altering the city's official badges," Hales said. "They were wrong to do so. Their action do a disservice to the hundreds of Portland Police officers who are building relationships and partnerships with the community every day."
Storm's behavior has been scrutinized before.
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice found a "pattern and practice" of Portland Police officers violating the constitutional rights of mentally ill people. The DOJ report specifically pointed to five cases—including a 2011 event where Storm took a 47-year-old man to the ground, then hit him in the head at least seven times.
"Whatever threat the officer perceived was largely mitigated once he forced the subject to the ground, before he repeatedly punched the subject in the face," the report found.