A Forest Grove police officer is facing a criminal mischief charge after he allegedly tried to pick a fight with a family of residents early Halloween morning, Oct. 31.
According to Mirella Castaneda, who called 9-1-1 at 12:55 a.m. that morning, Oct. 31, to report the scare after being alerted by car alarms, Steven Teets, 43, was found in the driveway. He allegedly banged and kicked at Castaneda's front door in the 1600 block of 23rd Avenue, demanding the residents come out, and damaged Halloween decorations on the family's porch. At the time, Teets was not on duty.
The Oregonian/OregonLive.com first reported the incident Monday, Nov. 9.
According to the newspaper's report, Teets was apprehended nearby by Forest Grove police officers and escorted home.
Body camera footage of the incident doesn't exist due to the officer responsible for picking Teets up failing to have his camera recording, a potential department policy violation.
Washington County sheriff's deputies were called in due to the potential conflict of interest, since Teets is a Forest Grove Police Department employee, according to Forest Grove Police Capt. Mike Hall.
Teets was cited the following day after deputies interviewed him and found probable cause for an arrest.
Sgt. Danny DiPietro, a spokesperson for the Washington County Sheriff's Office, said Teets was not lodged in the jail due to standard procedures resulting from COVID-19 restrictions.
"Right now, we're only accepting felonies or domestic violence-related crimes," DiPietro said, describing the criteria for actually booking a suspect into the Washington County Jail in Hillsboro. "We may accept something like this in extreme circumstances, but in this case, it didn't meet the requirements."
Castaneda told The Oregonian that Teets returned later on Halloween in an attempt to apologize to her and her husband, but neither were home at the time. Her brother and mother asked Teets to leave and that the police were handling the situation, she said.
Castaneda also spoke to a number of perceived irregularities regarding the FGPD's handling of the case, including but not limited to the ride home and body camera failure.
"That's one of the reasons we're having an outside agency look at this," Hall told The Oregonian. "There are some concerns about our response and how it was handled."
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