People's Police Report
Third Sheriff in a Row Rocked by Scandals, May Resign
Accusations of Sexism, Racism, and Political Intimidation Hit Staton
Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton sailed into office after his two predecessors, Bernie Giusto
and Bob Skipper, were forced to resign due to incompetence and the inability to pass state
certification, respectively (PPRs #45 and 48). Now Staton is facing his own set of scandals,
the Portland Tribune on April 19 he may resign and turn his post over to former PPB Chief Mike
Reese. Staton's actions have revived discussions about whether the Sheriff should be appointed by
County Commis-sioners rather than elected. Ironically, that question is at the heart of one of the
scandals: Staton apparently ordered background checks on anyone recommending his job be
changed to an appointed position, threatening people on a committee considering the change with
retaliation (Willamette Week, February 10). He also settled a lawsuit with Chief Deputy
Yankee, who accused him of harassment (for example, hugging her when shaking other deputies'
hands) and making "sexually inappropriate comments and sexist treatment of colleagues"
(Oregonian, February 12). Other former Sheriff's Office personnel say he fired analyst
Lamb in retaliation. Lamb released an audit showing African Americans make up 27% of people in
the County's jails, but are subjected to 40% of the force used by deputies/corrections officers
(Willamette Week, February 24 and Tribune, February 16).* Another person who
worked on the
report, Lt. Brent Ritchie, filed suit against Staton in February citing a hostile workplace and saying
his job was seriously downgraded after the audit was released (Oregonian, February 27).
The Oregon Attorney General has opened an official investigation into Staton's actions around
creating a hostile work environment, making "violent threats" against those who wanted to
appointed sheriff, and the unnecessary background checks (Oregonian, February 6). The
settlement with Yankee, which totalled almost $300,000, doesn't affect the criminal investigation. In
an unrelated matter, Sgt. Rob Edwards received $50,000 because Staton failed to consider his
veteran status when making promotions (Tribune, April 14).
The Willamette Week also blasted Staton for missing more days in his office than any of the
County Commissioners, saying he only logged in at work 47 weeks over the course of two years
(February 17). To be fair, he does have debilitating health problems; on the other hand, that doesn't
excuse the other shenanigans. It's likely he will be moving along like Giusto and Skipper, as even
the 400-member state Fraternal Order of Police turned their backs on him, calling out his
"inappropriate behavior" and asking how much money taxpayers want to spend on lawsuits
(Willamette Week on line, February 29).
Staton's not alone being under the magnifying glass: the Sheriff is apparently investigating
someone who conducts trainings for his Office who "was observed dehumanizing and mocking
both inmates and citizens who come into contact with employees" (Tribune). The trainer
corrections officers they could choose one inmate each week to take outside and "put a bullet in
back of their head."
* Multnomah County, which has an African American population of 5%, was the subject of a
Racial and Ethnic Disparities Report that showed African Americans are four times more likely to
be prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to jail as their white counterparts (Oregonian,
The Multnomah County Sheriff was an appointed position from 1967 to 1982.
• Law to Shield Cops Defeated
Also in PPR #68
Fired Cop Reinstated
• OR State Shootings--141 in 6 Years
•Sheriff May Resign Due to Scandals
• DOJ Board Unclear on Policy Input
• Bureau Boycotts Review Board
• Profiling: State Spying, CPRC Meets
• More Sweeps Despite Camping Rules
Report Exposes Racist, Sexist Cops
Training Council Notes "Us v. Them"
PPB Policy Review Suspended
• Updates PPR 68
Cop Exonerated in Mistaken ID Case
Mayor's Race and Police Issues
Copcams on the Horizon in Portland
• Quick Flashes PPR 68
Another PPB Pervocop Gone
Training Facility Used for Violent Fundraiser
Motorcyclist Kicked by Cop Wins $180K
MN Copwathers Seek Self-Insurance for Cops
• Rapping Back #68