There have been several disturbing allegations of retaliation and harassment swapped back and forth among high-ranking Portland Police Bureau officers in recent days—fallout from a legal battle and scandal that exploded after Police Chief Mike Reese's good friend, Mike Kuykendall, quit last week over a series of text messages calling another cop a Nazi.
(Never mind that the cop in question, Captain Mark Kruger, had been punished in 2010 over an illegal shrine to Nazi-era German soldiers.)
But among the most troubling questions, if largely ignored, is how, exactly, those text messages first went public. They first came out in a slander claim (pdf) filed by Kruger. But they were initially part of a harassment complaint filed against Kruger—by one of his former subordinates, Lieutenant Kristy Galvan. And Galvan, in a legal complaint (pdf) of her own, throws out a bombshell of an accusation: The bureau's internal affairs division leaked the texts to the Portland Police Commanding Officers Association, despite promises of confidentiality. The PPCOA then gave the texts to Kruger and his attorney.
"I have concerns the information was released," Charese Rohny, Galvan's attorney, tells the Mercury. "But I'm open to the union's explanation of how, why, and under what timeline. I've yet to have that conversation with them."
If true—and let's keep in mind that it is part of a tort claim—it could suggest collusion between bureau investigators, senior staffers, and a PPCOA president, Bryan Parman, who holds a high-profile job under Reese, running the bureau's training division. That should send a chill through any cop thinking of filing an internal complaint. But if the PPCOA obtained those texts on the level and not from IA—there are rumblings from sources that the charge isn't true, then it's probably up to Parman to clear things up. Unfortunately, so far, he has not.
Asked about the texts during a break at last night's inaugural Training Advisory Council meeting, Parman very politely said it was PPCOA policy not to comment on disputes involving two members. Asked to comment on the hanging implication—the very public accusation—that internal affairs might have breached its trust, he relented a little and told me he'd have to check with the PPCOA's board.
Sergeant Pete Simpson, lead bureau spokesman, says the whole thing "sounds like a disconnect" and that turning over confidential information to the Portland Police Association or the PPCOA "would not happen."
Simpson did acknowledge that "it appears a paper copy was shared" with the PPCOA, based on what Kruger's lawyer has reported. But Simpson also said it's possible that others had paper copies. Galvan's complaint says she at least discussed the texts with a union rep last year but doesn't say whether she provided copies. Union reps also participate in sitdowns with internal affairs investigators.
Simpson said the accusation could be looked at as part of the city's unfolding examination of the two complaints, standard practice for IA probes that start down one track and sometimes finish down several.
But Simpson also noted that the charge came in a tort claim.
"The torts have opposing views," he said. "The expectation that it's 100 percent true isn't there."