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West Linn residents pack City Hall to sound off on bogus investigation

The city settled with a man who was wrongfully arrested after a shady investigation ordered by West Linn's former police chief.

WEST LINN, Ore. — There were some tense moments inside West Linn City Hall Tuesday night as people sounded off about a bogus investigation that has put the city in the national spotlight.

"Your guys' credibility is shot," one man shouted at city council members.

The frustration is connected to what happened to Michael Fesser several years ago. He was working at A & B Towing in Portland when he became concerned about some racist behavior by some co-workers. Fesser turned to his boss for help. Fearing a lawsuit, the boss turned to his buddy, Terry Timeus, the police chief in West Linn at the time. According to court documents, Timeus ordered his officers to go to Portland and investigate Fesser for unfounded theft. It led to Fesser's wrongful arrest.

"As mayor of West Linn I must apologize for the described conduct that has stained our community," said Mayor Russ Axelrod.

Credit: Mike Benner, KGW News
Mayor Russ Axelrod addresses crowd.

Axelrod and the current police chief, Terry Kruger, are beyond disturbed by what is laid out in court papers.

"I will not tolerate racial or any other bias in policing," said Kruger.

The bias policing Kruger is referring to resulted in a $600,000 settlement for Fesser. People in West Linn say that amount is not enough for what Fesser went through.

"Rage is the first thing I felt," said one woman. "Disbelief."

"I'm shaking I'm so upset," said another man. "It disturbs me beyond comprehension."

Residents of West Linn are upset that one of the officers at the center of the whole thing is still with the West Linn Police Department, albeit on leave. They say it is about time the city reclaims its dignity and respect, but that may be easier said than done.

"This is a black eye to the West Linn community," said one man. "It takes a long time to heal damage to a police department."

The mayor of West Linn has ordered an independent investigation into the matter. That will be in addition to investigations ordered by Governor Kate Brown and county district attorneys.

RELATED: Lawmakers call for investigations into West Linn police after racially-motivated investigation, lawsuit

RELATED: Portland man awarded $600,000 after bogus investigation and arrest by West Linn police

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