Exactly 300 days after the Portland Police Office launched an internal affairs investigation into the leak of information that falsely implicated Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty in a hit-and-run accident on March 3, the US Attorney’s Office Ciudad published an October letter summarizing the investigation’s findings. .
The content of the letter appears to correspond closely to the allegations Hardesty made in a $ 5 million lawsuit he filed earlier this month against the police union, called the Portland Police Association, its former president PPB Ofc. Brian Hunzeker and another police officer named Kerri Ottoman.
The October 21 letter, addressed to Hardesty and written by Scott Konczal of the Internal Affairs Professional Standards Division, names three PPB officers: Ottoman, Hunzeker and Ken Le, who have yet to be publicly named in relation to this case. Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported on the letter.
Konczal wrote that internal affairs investigated the following seven allegations against the officers:
- Officer Brian Hunzeker released confidential information to the media.
- Officer Brian Hunzeker released confidential information to the media in retaliation for speaking negatively about officers from the Portland Police Office.
- Officer Kerri Ottoman released confidential information to the media.
- Officer Ken Le disseminated confidential information inappropriately.
- Officer Brian Hunzeker released confidential information involving him because of his race.
- Officer Kerri Ottoman released confidential information involving him because of his race.
- Officer Ken Le released confidential information involving him because of his race.
PPB North Precinct captain Kristina Jones sustained the first four allegations, but not the remaining three. Regarding the first two accusations against Hunzeker, Jones wrote the following:
Officer Hunzeker acknowledged sharing information about an ongoing criminal investigation with a member of the media in a telephone conversation that he initiated, and then provided a screenshot of the CAD call to the reporter, which he admitted was a violation. of this directive. ,” she wrote.
Hardesty’s lawsuit alleges that Hunzeker leaked the information to The Oregonian. The letter does not mention which media outlet Hunzeker contacted.
Jones added that Hunzeker cited “many reasons” for sharing the information with the reporter, including a false accusation Hardesty had made in July 2020 in which he accused PPB officers of setting fires at the protests. (Hardesty later retracted the claim and apologized.)
Jones sustained those two allegations against Hunzeker, meaning that a “preponderance of the evidence shows that a violation of policy or procedure occurred,” according to the letter.
Jones also sustained the allegation that Ottoman released confidential information to Gabriel Johnson, co-founder of the Coalition to Save Portland political action committee.
“Officer Ottoman admitted to posting a screenshot of a [computer-aided dispatch] CAD call and provide this information to your friend, a community member who violates the policy, ”Jones wrote. However, Jones noted, Ottoman did not share the information due to Hardesty’s race. Rather, he gave the information to Johnson “primarily because he was venting to a friend,” Jones wrote.
Ultimately, Jones upheld the claim that Ofc. Ken released confidential information to a dispatcher from the Office of Emergency Communications (BOEC).
“Officer Le admitted to posting a screenshot of a CAD call and providing this information to his friend, a BOEC dispatcher who was off duty, in violation of policy,” Jones wrote.
Interestingly, Le was one of the officers tasked with investigating the hit-and-run in the hours after the initial 911 report. According to police reports, in the hours before Hardesty was officially declared a suspect, he searched for Hardesty’s license plate number. into the law enforcement database system and then went to look for his car near his home in the Gateway neighborhood.
Jones determined that the final three allegations, that police officers released confidential information because of Hardesty’s race, did not stand.
“There were many reasons why Officer Hunzeker cited as determining factors why he shared the information and there is no evidence to support any of those factors being related to race as a motive,” Jones wrote. “The officer told her in her AI interview on August 19 that Jo Ann Hardesty’s career was not the reason she chose to share a screenshot of the CAD call with an acquaintance who works at BOEC.”
The letter was generated from a hearing before the Police Review Board (PRB), which is tasked with evaluating the findings of the internal affairs investigation.
Shortly after the PRB hearing, both WW and Oregon Public Broadcasting requested a copy of the letter. The city denied the requests, citing the pending investigation. OPB appealed the city’s denial to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, which on Wednesday ordered the city to publish the letter, according to the OPB report.