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Chief Terry Kruger said to have described the detective on leave as the 'victim' of the misconduct probe.

KrugerThe union representing West Linn police officers is expressing disappointment in Police Chief Terry Kruger's response to a shocking scandal of police misconduct that has targeted one of the department's current detectives.

Kruger and other West Linn officials have publicly said they support an investigation into their police department amid allegations that an African American man from Portland was targeted by the department at the direction of former chief Terry Timeus.

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This is part of a series of articles related to Terry Timeus and the 2017 false arrest of Michael Fesser. Click here to follow the story from the beginning.

But privately, Kruger may have reached another conclusion. Sources close to the department say that Kruger has made unusual appearances at two recent police briefings, where he has defended detective Tony Reeves, one of a trio of officers whose wrongful arrest of Portland resident Michael Fesser forced a $600,000 settlement.

Reeves is still employed by the department and is currently on paid administrative leave pending an investigation of the incident.

In public, Kruger has said he supports that investigation.

"In light of the recently released transcripts produced through depositions taken after our internal disciplinary investigation was completed, we welcome this investigation with full cooperation and acceptance," Kruger said in a statement released Wednesday, Feb. 12.

However, a source close to the department said that, at roll calls earlier this month, Kruger described Reeves as "a victim."

Kruger could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon, nor could his deputy or the deputy city manager of West Linn.

But the Clackamas County Police Officers Association, in response to questions posed by the Portland Tribune, released a statement referring to "recent roll call room comments made by Chief Terry Kruger." While the union declined to characterize Kruger's comments, its statement said that "C.C.P.O.A. is disappointed that he would make these conclusive statements about an investigation that has not been completed, let alone commenced."

Association president Stephen Steinberg urged union members to fully cooperate with any investigation and to bring indiscretions like the chief's alleged comments to the union's attention.

"The story and allegations out of West Linn are deeply troubling and strike at the heart of the high standards our public safety professionals expect of themselves," Steinberg said. "We are supportive of the Clackamas County District Attorney's impartial investigation and will minimize any speculation until it is complete."

Lee van der Voo is an independent journalist and a former Pamplin Media Group reporter.

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