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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, telling 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 Linda 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 Amanda 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 create an appointed sheriff, and the unnecessary background checks (Oregonian, February 6). The civil 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 told corrections officers they could choose one inmate each week to take outside and "put a bullet in the 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, February 12).

The Multnomah County Sheriff was an appointed position from 1967 to 1982.
  People's Police Report

May, 2016
Also in PPR #68

Law to Shield Cops Defeated
  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

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

People's Police Report #68 Table of Contents
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