Former West Linn sergeant convicted in misconduct charge stemming from Fesser arrest
Tony Reeves, the former West Linn Police Department sergeant who led the 2017 false arrest of Michael Fesser, was convicted of an official misconduct charge by a Multnomah County judge Wednesday, July 20.
Facing a maximum possible sentence of one year in jail and a $6,250 fine, the court sentenced Reeves to 18 months of bench probation, 85 hours of community service and 15 hours of cultural diversity and sensitivity training. He also received a fine of $200 and was prohibited from applying for employment with a law enforcement agency during his probation and having any contact with Fesser.
Fesser told Pamplin Media Group that the decision was a "slap in the face." He said Reeves was the "low man on the totem pole" while those who were in charge, former Chief Terry Timeus and former Lt. Michael Stradley, face no accountability.
After initially pleading not guilty to official misconduct for his role in the arrest of Fesser, Reeves changed his plea to "no contest" July 20.
Fesser's arrest drew condemnation from local, state and federal officials after new details of WLPD's unlawful sting emerged following a settlement in 2020.
Reeves and Timeus colluded with Fesser's boss at A&B Towing, Eric Benson (a friend of Timeus), by accusing Fesser of stealing from company auto auctions after Fesser reported facing racial discrimination at work.
Benson feared Fesser would sue him for the discrimination, which he eventually did. Fesser was awarded over $1 million in settlements from lawsuits against Benson and WLPD.
Stadley's role in the sting was coordinating with the Portland Police Bureau, where he had previously worked, to get Portland officers to assist in the arrest. Stradley misled his former colleagues at PPB, telling them that Fesser had threatened Benson.
Though the FBI and Oregon Department of Justice conducted a year-long investigation of the 2017 arrest, they concluded last year that they could not file charges against any of the involved officers because they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that "officers involved in Mr. Fesser's arrest willfully violated Mr. Fesser's civil rights or federal public corruption statutes."
The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training revoked the police certifications of both Reeves and Timeus last year.
During Wednesday's hearing, Judge Michael Greenlick asked prosecutors if the victim of the official misconduct was OK with this resolution. To this, Tobias Tingleaf of the Oregon Department of Justice replied that the State of Oregon and the public were the victims of the case and the state had not conferred with "the victim of that (underlying) case."
"No one reached out to me and that lets you know right there they don't care about Black folks," Fesser said. "They didn't tell me about this court date. They didn't tell me anything. They didn't ask me anything."
Reeves' attorney told the court that his client was working construction in Montana and had no intentions of re-entering law enforcement.
"To me it's a slap in the face," Fesser said. "That community doesn't want change. They'll do what they want to do and nothing gets done. Good luck to the next Black man that this happens to. Maybe he won't be as fortunate as me and he'll be dead and we will be having a different conversation."
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