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UPDATE: Mayor Wheeler calls for a better explanation about the union head's departure.

VIA KOIN - Brian Hunzeker The president of the Portland Police Union has resigned over a "mistake" he made apparently related to the false accusation that Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty was involved in a hit-and-run accident.

The executive board of the union representing most Portland Police Bureau employees announced the resignation of Brian Hunzeker on Tuesday, March 16. Former PPA President Daryl Turner will replace him until a permanent president is elected.

The announcement did not say what Hunzeker had done, except for, "Over the last 24 hours, we learned that Portland Police Association (PPA) President Brian Hunzeker made a serious, isolated mistake related to the Police Bureau's investigation into the alleged hit-and-run by Commissioner Hardesty."

Mayor Ted Wheeler, who oversees the bureau, called for more information about the resignation.

"As the police commissioner, I demand to know what that mistake was," Wheeler said.

The police report naming Hardesty as a suspect in a hit-and-run accident had been leaked to the media and a police support group before the investigation had been complete. It cleared Hardesty of any role in the accident.

The bureau announced that "Officer Hunzeker remains an employee of the Portland Police Bureau, and will receive an assignment within the bureau to be determined." PPB said the investigation into who leaked the initial report to the press remains underway.

Here is the complete PPA release:

"When we make mistakes, we must hold ourselves to account. That is what the public expects of us. That is what we expect of ourselves.

"Over the last 24 hours, we learned that Portland Police Association (PPA) President Brian Hunzeker made a serious, isolated mistake related to the Police Bureau's investigation into the alleged hit-and-run by Commissioner Hardesty. We apologize to Commissioner Hardesty for that mistake and will be reaching out to meet with her personally.

"Brian's mistake was not driven by malice. But it was a serious mistake. He has held himself to account by resigning his position as PPA President effective immediately. The PPA's Executive Board has accepted his resignation.

"As an organization, we recognize the impact of this mistake. We acknowledge the need to improve, starting from within. To help with that process, we have asked Daryl Turner to return to the PPA as Executive Director in the interim to help our union rebuild trust within our membership, with City Hall and the Police Bureau, and with the community."

Portland Police Association Executive Board

Wheeler responded by releasing the following statement:

"I have reviewed the Portland Police Association's news release about Brian Hunzeker's resignation as union president. I appreciate the association's call for accountability, but his resignation raises significant questions that remain unanswered. Mr. Hunzeker has given no reason for his resignation except that he made a serious mistake about an ongoing criminal investigation. As the police commissioner, I demand to know what that mistake was. I have called for an internal investigation to clarify the circumstances. While I appreciate Mr. Hunzeker's self-described act of accountability, I demand he give a full and transparent accounting of what he did and what his motivations were to Commissioner Hardesty and the public. I call on him to do so immediately."

Following the PPA's announcement on Tuesday, Hardesty shared the following statement:

"I am just learning about this story after a council budget work session though [sic] the media reports coming out after PPA sent an email out announcing the resignation of their President. At the moment, I know nothing more than any member of the public does. I do know that Mayor Wheeler and I agreed that the scope of the impending outside investigation into the Portland Police Bureau will not only get to the bottom of this specific politically motived leak, but will also look into potential political and racial bias, as well as potential ties to white supremacists within the Portland Police Bureau."

A previous Portland Tribune story on the case can be found here.


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