Hardesty Falsely Accused: Third Officer Named In Police Report

PORTLAND, OR — Monday will be 10 months since a woman told Portland Police that a woman driving a car had hit her parked car, making a small dent, and then drove away. That woman said she was absolutely sure that the driver was Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. Within hours the information had been linked to several media outlets including a conservative blog saying the Hardesty was involved in a hit and run.

In some cases the information had leaked before Hardesty was even contacted. It turned out that Hardesty had been nowhere near the incident and didn’t even drive a car similar to the one described. Despite an internal police investigation that was presented its findings to the Police Review Board in October, no action has been taken against any of those involved.

On Friday, OPB first reported that more details – including that a third officer had been involved – had been released. That probe found that Officer Brian Hunzeker, who was president of the Portland Police Association, the union representing rank and file officers, had leaked the information for Hardesty’s criticism of officers and the police bureau. “There were many reasons Officer Hunzeker cited as the driving factors for why he shared the information and one of those factors, he admits, was in response to Commissioner Hardesty’s false allegation about officers setting fires during the civil unrest,” the report stated.

The report found that two others – Officer Ken Le and Officer Kerri Ottoman – also leaked about Hardesty in violation of police policy. Investigators determined that while officers had been retailiating against Hardesty, they had done so because of her criticism of the police bureau not because Hardesty is Black. Le allegedly leaked the information to an off duty dispatcher and Ottoman allegedly told a friend of hers.

In December, Hardesty filed a £5 million suit against the city, Hunzeker, and Ottoman.

Hardesty has not said if she will try to add Le to the suit.




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