Union files complaint against majority of City Council over text controversy
The union representing a Portland police lieutenant who exchanged text message with a right-wing protest leader has filed a complaint against Mayor Ted Wheeler and commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Chloe Eudaly for their comments about him.
Police Lt. Jeff Niiya was a designated liaison to Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson. After texts between Niiya and Gibson were released last week, Wheeler, Hardesty and Eudaly questioned whether they revealed Niiya had favored Gibson over the counter-protesters who frequently attended his rallies.
Niiya was subsequently relieved of his liaison duties.On Tuesday, the Portland Police Commanding Officers Association filed a complaint with Chief Human Resources Officer Serilda Summers-McGee against Wheeler, Hardesty and Eudaly. It alleges they violated a city personnel rule that prohibits workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
"Our job is to keep the people of Portland safe. That means building bridges and developing cordial relationships with diverse groups and individuals. We have regular open communication with the mayor's office about our work and the tactics we employ. This situation is no different. Mayor Ted Wheeler's statement about our communications with Patriot Prayer organizers is either disingenuous or shows willful ignorance of the situation. Either way it shows that during his two years as Portland Police Commissioner he has failed to develop an understanding of even basic police work," the union said in its Feb. 19 press release announcing the complaint.
During his previously-scheduled Tuesday press conference, Wheeler affirmed that he has ordered an internal police investigation of the texts and will also approve an independent investigation. He said Niiya was entitled to due process.
You can read a previous Portland Tribune story on the issue here.