Ex-police chief brought 'discredit' to Portland, probe finds

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An investigation has found that former Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea brought discredit to the city, delayed reporting his April 2016 off-duty shooting of a friend and then lied to Independent Police Review investigators about the incident.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Mayor Ted Wheeler sent O'Dea a two-page letter outlining the conclusions of the investigation into the handling of the shooting and a separate investigation into allegations that O'Dea failed to report a discrimination complaint.

Wheeler wrote to O'Dea, "If you were still employed by the Police Bureau, I would terminate you."

O'Dea retired in late June 2016 after he became under criminal investigation.

A grand jury indicted him on a negligent wounding charge, but a judge agreed to a civil compromise allowing the charge against O'Dea to be dismissed.

O'Dea shot his friend, Robert Dempsey, while camping and hunting squirrels in the Catlow Valley area of Harney County. The hollow-point bullet hit Dempsey in the lower back and fragmented.

Four days later, O'Dea told his then-boss, Mayor Charlie Hales, about the shooting. Around the same time, O'Dea also told the police captain of internal affairs and his four assistant chiefs.

No one alerted the city's Independent Police Review Division, which conducts all internal investigations of high-ranking Police Bureau members. The review division director first learned of the shooting when reading news reports about it a month later.

The city's human resources director, however, decided not to sustain an allegation that O'Dea "improperly directed or suggested" his assistant chiefs keep quiet about the shooting.

In the other investigation done by the city, O'Dea was found to have failed to report possible misconduct to the city's Bureau of Human Resources that stemmed from comments made by the Police Bureau's equity manager Elle Weatheroy to a bureau administrative assistant.

O'Dea was found to have been "untruthful in his interview with (the Human Resources Bureau) and Internal Affairs about his knowledge of possible misconduct" in the case, according to the mayor's letter.

The administrative assistant had reported to O'Dea last year that Weatheroy made harassing and inappropriate remarks to her, according to several sources familiar with the review.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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