Clackamas Sheriff: Mark Nikolai support page unauthorized
Clackamas County sheriff's officials denied any connection with a Facebook page intended to generate support for Deputy Mark Nikolai, who is currently on administrative leave.
CCSO took action to investigate Nikolai over this past weekend after an online video circulated showing him stating that anti-fascist activists had a hand in the wildfires raging in parts of the county.
The Facebook page was created Saturday, Sept. 12, after Sheriff Craig Roberts issued a statement that a deputy was placed on administrative leave for making "inappropriate statements."
The sheriff's office has yet to confirm the deputy was Mark Nikolai, but multiple media reports have made the connection, and both Nikolai's Twitter and Facebook accounts disappeared over the weekend. On the video, the deputy identifies himself as "Mark."
According to the Facebook page titled "Patriots for Deputy Nikolai," its purpose is to show support for Nikolai and to voice "outrage" over Sheriff Robert's decision to place him on leave. The page also is working to produce yard signs for local residents to put in their yard to show support, as well as a potential rally in front of the sheriff's station.
"We as a community want him put back to work," a post on the page said. "Share this page, if it gets enough attention, maybe Sheriff Craig Roberts will listen to the Clackamas Community."
The page has more than 400 likes and 500 followers, and is linked to the email of Maigen Thompson, an administrative specialist within the sheriff's office.
According to Deputy Hayden Sanders, Thompson was only made aware her email was used to create the page once Pamplin Media Group inquired about it, and she had no knowledge of the page's creation or existence, he said.
"Ms. Thompson is in no way associated to this Facebook page and the sheriff's office is currently working with Facebook to have the issue resolved," Sanders said in an email.
The events surrounding Deputy Nikolai's actions was kicked up again Monday when Sheriff Roberts went on record for a fourth time, denouncing claims of "antifa" or Black Lives Matter activists being involved in arson strikes in rural Clackamas County.
Beyond the video that emerged on Saturday, statements by another Clackamas County officer also prompted concern. Capt. Jeff Smith spoke to the board of county commissioners on Thursday, Sept. 10, saying the Sheriff's Office considering adding curfews under the county's emergency declaration — that extremists had been spotted placing incendiary devices throughout the county and wielding chainsaws with the intention of felling utility poles to spark fires.
Roberts said those statements were untrue.
"I want to clarify for the record: One of our captains indicated a source stated that 'antifa' was involved in possible criminal activity. That source has since been determined to be false," Roberts said Monday.
During the meeting to approve curfews last Thursday, Sept. 10, board members each reacted differently to the information incorrectly provided by Capt. Smith. Commissioners Paul Savas said he was inclined to make a plea to Gov. Kate Brown to send in the Oregon National Guard to help police the area.
Commissioner Sonya Fischer pushed back, questioning for more specific information and confirmation of "antifa" sightings in places like Estacada rather than just evidence provided by second-hand statements.
"I think we should hold off calling the governor to make that ask," Fischer said. "We want to make sure it's a real ask if we're going to ask it."
The board decided instead to simply approve the use of curfews in an attempt to mitigate some of the traffic in and out of evacuation zones to better weed out potential criminal activity.
According to Commissioner Ken Humberston, he personally would have supported the curfew whether or not Capt. Smith had made those statements.
"I wanted to give the sheriff's department the tools they needed to get people out of an unsafe area. That would have been my thinking whether or not there was an antifa or a Proud Boy or anyone else," Humberston said.
County Chair Jim Bernard said Monday that he believes Capt. Smith should be punished for making unvetted factual statements to the board as they considered emergency action.
Meanwhile, a second video posted to YouTube on Friday, Sept. 11, by freelance journalists Melissa Lewis and Jacob Hanning continues to circulate the internet. The video provides audio but few clear images of an interaction between armed militia members near Estacada and a man who identifies himself as a sheriff's deputy. The man allegedly instructs the group on how to use lethal force without facing criminal charges.
"Don't get yourself in a situation where you lose your rights because you pushed the limit. You all mean to do good, your hearts in the right place, but the courts nowadays don't give a s*** where your heart is," the deputy in the video said. "Be advised, there are homeowners who have been prosecuted for murder because they killed some guy who was on their property. You have to prove serious physical injury or death. Now, if you throw a f****ng knife in their hand after you shoot them, that's on you."
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office has yet to confirm or deny whether this second video also is within the scope of the investigation launched into Deputy Mark Nikolai's comments by the office's performance standards units, as well as the statement condemning Nikolai's behavior from Sheriff Roberts.
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