Much has been made in the past day or so about an awful-sounding quote from Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner in this week's Willamette Week, at the end of a story about perennial problem cop Jason Lobaugh and what's been a (deeply) troubling pattern of domestic violence allegations:
Portland Police Association president Daryl Turner says the domestic-violence allegations against Lobaugh are part of his personal life. Turner says he considers the alleged behavior “not socially acceptable” but that Lobaugh didn’t break the law.
“He doesn’t have an anger problem,” Turner says. “He has a problem picking wives.”
In the day since it's gone up, I've seen it posted on Twitter—by horrified people angrily accusing the police union president of victim-blaming. It's exploded in the WW's comments. It's been left on elected officials' Facebook pages. It was discussed privately in city hall. And it's also made it onto the blog of a Portland State student, Lauren Hudgins, who said she emailed Turner with a demand he resign. That last bit wouldn't be super-duper notable, except that Turner, today, emailed back a statement to Hudgins, which she promptly posted, accusing WW of misquoting him and printing statements that were "false."
Ms Hudgins, I totally understand your reaction to the comments attributed to me in the WW. All I can say is I was not only misquoted but the statements were false.
I am a 22 1/2 year veteran of PPB with commendations including a Medal of Valor. I have never been disciplined and spent 15 years of my career working the streets as a patrol officer. I have seen the devastation that physical and emotional domestic violence causes and I deplore it more than you’ll ever know. My own 72 year old mother was the victim of domestic violence this year. That is why I am contacting the editor of the WW tomorrow and demand the retraction of this article.
I know you don’t know anything about me nor do I have any credibility with you however I could have easily ignored your email but I didn’t. As a product of being raised by a single mom I’ve seen first hand how difficult it is for women in our society.
In all fairness I would hope you would see this email as an opportunity understand that there are two sides to every story and contact me to hear mine.
Respectfully, Daryl Turner
Turner, as the quote was percolating, stood with elected officials and federal prosecutors yesterday to hail some kind of rapprochement on police reforms. He'd also quietly checked in with some city officials to head off criticism by disputing the quote.
Update 2:21 PM: I've left messages with the various city council offices for comment. Commissioner Amanda Fritz has replied with a condemnation of the quote, albeit with the caveat that Turner hasn't acknowledged saying it.
"If Officer Turner made the statement attributed to him," says Fritz, "it shows he needs to learn more about the appalling and pervasive problem of domestic violence in our community."///end update
I've left a message for WW Editor in Chief Mark Zusman for a formal response to Turner's threatened request and his public accusation. Turner picked up his phone this morning, but only to tell me he couldn't talk because he was in a meeting.
Hudgins, meanwhile, also reached out the reporter who wrote the story, Andrea Damewood, and asked about Turner's accusations.
Damewood replied via Twitter. She's adamant that Turner said what she quoted him saying:
@lehudgins I have notes typed, but no recording. I've never made up a quote before, and didn't in this case. He said it.
— Andrea Damewood (@adamewood) November 7, 2013
Update 3:23 PM: Turner has issued a formal statement on the PPA's website calling for a retraction and saying Damewood "attributed a statement to me that I did not make." I've left another message for Turner, and I'll update if I hear back with anything new.
I've also not heard back yet from commissioners Nick Fish or Steve Novick. A spokesman for Mayor Charlie Hales, the police commissioner, says Hales is in Chicago and unavailable for comment. Commissioner Dan Saltzman's office said Saltzman had left for the day.
Yesterday, the Willamette Week published an article, “One Cop’s Exes and Uh-Ohs,” in which Willamette Week reporter Andrea Damewood attributed a statement to me that I did not make. I have demanded an immediate retraction of the false statement.
Domestic violence is unacceptable. Period. I made that point very clear to the Willamette Week reporter when I spoke with her. She chose not to print the truth, electing instead to print something scandalous and false. We should all be able to trust that reporters will accurately report the news. The Willamette Week and Ms. Damewood broke that trust, choosing sensationalism over truth.
I was raised by a single mother who is a recent victim of domestic violence. I am a husband and a father of two daughters. Domestic violence is unacceptable to me and my family. Domestic violence is unacceptable to the PPA and its members. Domestic violence is unacceptable. Period.
I again call on the Willamette Week to retract the false statement immediately.