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New Chief Marshman Pushes Out Top Brass Implicated in Cover-Up

On April 21, Police Chief Larry O'Dea and friends including two former Portland Police Bureau Lieutenants were hunting in Harney County. Late that day, they were sitting on lawn chairs, drinking alcohol and shooting their rifles at ground squirrels when the Chief shot his friend Robert Dempsey, 54, in the back. But as they say, it's not the crime-- it's the coverup. When a Harney County Sheriff's Deputy interviewed the men, they said the victim accidently shot himself. O'Dea took four days to report the incident to Portland's Mayor, saying he shot his friend by mistake. No action was taken until May 24, after additional details were disclosed in the media, when Mayor Hales finally placed the Chief on paid leave. He resigned in June.

On June 27, Captain Mike Marshman, the Compliance Coordinator for implementing the US Dept. of Justice Agreement, was appointed Chief. Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler expressed support, but plans a national search when he takes office. Marshman demoted Acting Chief Donna Henderson and three assistant chiefs, who face investigations into why they didn't start an internal inquiry when O'Dea told them about the shooting.

Marshman appointed former North Precinct commander Chris Uehara, former Transit Division Capt. Mike Leloff, and Capt. Matt Wagenknecht, who supported the pepper-spraying of a homeless man in 2014 (PPR #63), as the new Assistant Chiefs. He eliminated the fourth position, formerly held by Kevin Modica, the highest-ranking African American in the Bureau, saying community- related police functions should be integral to the whole organization. Henderson retired rather than be demoted, and is now "double dipping" with a new job as the city's liquor license coordinator (Oregonlive, July 20). Capt. Derek Rodrigues, who led Internal Affairs, was also reassigned because he failed to open an administrative investigation on O'Dea or alert the the Independent Police Review.

Every officer who previously was involved in an off-duty shooting was put on administrative leave-- Sgt. Greg Stewart, who killed a man at his Scappoose home in 2007 (PPR #43), Officer John Kuechler, who shot and wounded Travis Hunt at a football game in 1998 (PPR #16), and even Officer John Hurlman when he killed George the dog while jogging in 1997 (PPR #13).

O'Dea's action of covering up the incident demonstrates (again) the corrupt culture of the police. It seems there are only consequences once officers are caught lying-- use of force and other misconduct notwithstanding. Many in the community (including Portland Copwatch [PCW]) are deeply concerned that Chief Marshman admitted, days after being promoted, he was involved in a domestic violence incident in which he harmed his stepson, but was not prosecuted due to an expired statute of limitations. The only bright side is that Marshman was up front about the incident and released his personnel file, unlike Chief O'Dea, who clammed up after PCW asked him about the 1988 shooting he was involved in (PPR #64).

One other reason to be concerned about Chief Marshman: on the Portland Police Association's Facebook Page, President Daryl Turner said that with the "dark cloud" of Chief O'Dea gone and Marshman in, the rank and file can "breathe a sigh of relief" adding that they can work "collaboratively" with their new boss (June 27).

  People's Police Report

September, 2016
Also in PPR #69

Police Shoot At, Miss One
  Other Oregon Shootings--2 Per Month
DOJ Staff, Board Ask for Divorce
Chief Shoots Friend, Steps Down >
Review Board Faces Changes
Police Oversight Report Has Less Info
May Day 2016: Small Police Presence
Sheriff Staton Hits the Trail
Profiling: "Gang" Arrests, Stop Data
Cops Plan More Homeless Sweeps
Training Council Recommendations
Mayor Secretly Negotiates Contract
PPB Policy Review at Slow Crawl
Updates PPR 69
  • PPB May Let Cops See Body Cam Footage
  Police Use Pole Cameras
  Copwatchers Receive Settlements
  Entrapped Man Appeals Terror Ruling
Legal Briefs: Evidence, Phones, Cops
Quick Flashes PPR 69
  Officer in DUI Flips Car in Crash
  Cop Sprays Dog Walker
Rapping Back #69

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 #69 Table of Contents
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