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Charge filed against former West Linn cop involved in wrongful arrest

The Oregon Department of Justice says a fired West Linn police sergeant has been criminally charged for his involvement in the 2017 wrongful arrest of a Black man.
Credit: KGW
Michael Fesser, pictured here, was illegally surveilled and wrongfully arrested by police at the request of his boss.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A fired West Linn, Oregon, police sergeant has been criminally charged for his involvement in the 2017 wrongful arrest of a Black man, according to the Oregon Department of Justice.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported this week that the state Justice Department charged Anthony Reeves with first-degree official misconduct, a misdemeanor, over the arrest of Michael Fesser.

RELATED: West Linn police chief fired in 'step toward restoring confidence' following 2017 bogus arrest of Black man

The Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office found Reeves colluded with former Chief Terry Timeus to arrest Fesser as a favor to Eric Benson, Fesser’s then-boss.

Fesser had previously complained about a hostile workplace, citing incidents of racism directed at him.

“It appears the (West Linn Police Department’s) involvement in this investigation was driven by Chief Timeus’ personal friendship with Mr. Benson,” the Clackamas County district attorney’s investigation said.

The DA’s investigation found Reeves illegally surveilled Fesser, exchanged and deleted racist texts with Fesser’s boss, and withheld evidence.

RELATED: Feds won't prosecute officers who wrongfully arrested Portland Black man in 2017

In 2020, the city of West Linn agreed to pay Fesser $600,000 to settle a lawsuit. Benson and his company, A&B Towing, paid Fesser $415,000 to settle a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The city of West Linn fired Reeves in 2020 after the district attorney said he would not call him as a witness in any case he investigated.

Reeves’ lawyer David Lesh didn’t respond to messages seeking comment from The Oregonian/OregonLive. No court date has been set for his appearance on the charge, the newspaper reported.

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