Wheeler, Hardesty announce progress on leak probes
Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty announced "significant progress" Friday on the investigations into the unauthorized and inappropriate release of information that falsely identified Hardesty as a suspect in a hit-and-run crash.
The March 19 announcement also said there had been progress into broader issues of public trust, racial and political bias, and culture within the Portland Police Bureau.
Hardesty had been falsely accused of being in a hit-and-run crash in a police report that was determined to be false after it had been leaked to the media and pro-police activists. Hardesty is a leading police critic.
Wheeler and Hardesty confirmed that police bureau and Bureau of Emergency Communications internal investigations have been underway since shortly after the initial incident occurred. Both Wheeler and Hardesty expect both bureaus to move as quickly as possible to complete their investigations.
In addition, Wheeler and Hardesty also said the city has contracted with the OIR Group to conduct an outside, independent investigation of the unauthorized and inappropriate release of information. The contract was completed this week and the OIR Group is beginning its independent investigation immediately.
Wheeler and Hardesty also said they are close to completing the scope for an additional independent look at broader issues related to the police bureau and community trust. The initial scope for the third investigation includes:
• Racial bias: Are the police bureau's policies, culture or actions influenced by racial bias? If so, what is the extent of any racial bias, what are the root causes of any racial bias, and what are the best practices to addresses those root causes?
• Political bias: Are the police bureau's policies, culture or actions influenced by political bias? If so, what is the extent of any political bias, what are the root causes of any political bias, and what are the best practices to address those root causes?
• Resistance to change: Are the police bureau's policies, culture or actions resistant to change sought by the community? If so, what is the extent of that resistance, what are the root causes of that resistance, and what are the best practices to address that resistance?
Wheeler and Hardesty hope to finalize the scope and select an independent party to conduct the third investigation as soon as possible.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.