A Washington County sheriff's deputy has been charged with misconduct for using force against a detainee at the Washington County Jail more than two years ago, the Sheriff's Office announced Friday afternoon, June 5.
Deputy Rian Alden was investigated, although not suspended or prosecuted, after what the Washington County Sheriff's Office described as a "concerning use of force incident" at the jail in March 2018. The incident was investigated by the Oregon State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. Prosecutors ultimately did not charge Alden for lack of evidence, the Washington County Sheriff's Office said Friday.
However, on Friday, Alden was charged with first-degree official misconduct by a Washington County grand jury after the criminal investigation was reopened.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office said the investigation was picked back up after a racist email that Alden apparently sent in 2003, prior to his employment with the Sheriff's Office, surfaced Sunday, May 31.
A copy of the email was posted to Twitter from an anonymous account. In it, the sender — purportedly Alden — ridicules the recipient as an "(expletive) idiot," uses several racial epithets and complains that "(expletive) foreigners ... don't belong here."
"Oh, I'm sorry, That was Racist, but I guess I am," the email adds at one point.
View the Tweet and screenshot of the racist email allegedly sent by Rian Alden in 2003, published on Twitter on May 31, 2020. This email contains racist and profane language and may be disturbing to readers.
Alden has worked for the Washington County Sheriff's Office since 2007. Prior to that, he worked for the Malheur County Sheriff's Office from 2004 to 2006.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office announced Alden was placed on administrative leave Monday morning, June 1, due to the "inappropriate email" to which Sheriff Pat Garrett was alerted the previous day.
The Washington County District Attorney's Office reopened the 2018 investigation after learning of the email.
"New evidence recently became known which prompted a re-opening of the investigation and this indictment," the District Attorney's Office said in a brief statement late Friday afternoon.
Sgt. Danny DiPietro, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office, said Friday he is unable to provide more detail about the 2018 incident that sparked the original investigation into Alden because of the ongoing investigation.
Alden was not placed on leave during the original investigation in 2018, DiPietro confirmed.
Stephen Mayer, a spokesperson for the District Attorney's Office, also said he cannot comment on prosecutors' reasoning behind reopening the case because it is an active investigation.
First-degree official misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor under Oregon law, carrying a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail and a $6,250 fine.
By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
Follow me on Twitter
Visit the News-Times on Facebook
Subscribe to our E-News
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.