DAs in Multnomah, Clackamas counties call for federal criminal investigation into West Linn police scandal
District attorneys from Multnomah and Clackamas County have called for a federal criminal investigation into a false arrest of a black man from Portland made by West Linn police in 2017.
After the city's insurance provider paid a $600,000 settlement to the man, Michael Fesser, and new details about the case — including racist text messages by West Linn police officers — were brought to light last week, state, local and federal lawmakers had called for inquiries into the matter.
Last Friday, the West Linn City Council sent a letter to U.S. District Attorney Billy Williams asking that the Department of Justice look into the arrest of Fesser, which came after Fesser's boss, fearing a racial discrimination lawsuit, asked his friend, former West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus, to investigate Fesser.
Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill and Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote said in a joint statement Wednesday, Feb. 19, that Williams's office will "investigate any possible federal crimes that might have been committed in this matter."
Foote and Underhill said their respective offices would continue to investigate "Brady" issues related to the case, referring to the 1963 landmark case by the U.S. Supreme Court, which set a precedent requiring prosecutors to provide to the defense any evidence that could exonerate defendants.
At a West Linn City Council meeting Tuesday Feb. 18, citizens lambasted the West Linn police, city management and council members for their handling of the incident.
A West Linn resident claiming to be a former chief appellate defense attorney appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court said he identified at least eight felonies committed by West Linn police in the reports of the case.
That citizen, David Goldstein, implied that by unjustifiably arresting Fesser, West Linn police kidnapped him and, by confiscating his belongings without cause, committed theft.
At Tuesday's council meeting, city councilors said that learning the truth of this matter would be the only way to truly heal the community.
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