Retired Portland cop Scott Groshong pleaded guilty to charges of assault and misconduct Monday for driving his car into an individual who he believed had just robbed a store during a protest. Groshong was on the clock working for the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) at the time of the June 15, 2020 incident, but retired two months later.
Groshong's plea is the result of a plea deal with prosecutors, which allows him to avoid trial in exchange for a confession.
Groshong was working undercover the night of the incident, watching racial justice demonstrations take place in downtown Portland from inside an unmarked van. According to court filings, Groshong said he witnessed a man break into a skateboard shop on NW 6th and take three skateboards. A short time later, another person allegedly grabbed a helmet out of the store and ran across the street.
Groshong then drove his van east on NW Davis Street up to the alleged helmet thief and struck him with the vehicle, knocking him onto the sidewalk. Groshong failed to report the collision to a supervisor or to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or note it in his police report regarding the alleged theft.
Groshong initially pleaded not guilty in October 2021 to the nine charges he faced—including several more charges of misconduct and failure to perform duties of a driver to injured persons. Prosecutors have dismissed seven of those charges as part of Groshong's plea deal. While the incident took place in Multnomah County, the district attorney's office referred the case to the Marion County District Attorney to handle to "ensure full impartiality."
For confessing to assault in the third degree and official misconduct in the first degree, Groshong was sentenced to three years probation, 80 hours of community service, and will have his DPSST certification revoked.
Groshong's record of misconduct at PPB has a history. From our previous reporting:
In October 2015, Groshong was exiting PPB's downtown garage in an SUV when he noticed Robert West—a man who frequently videotapes police—filming his car. West's video shows Groshong stopping the car, stepping out of his SUV, and approaching West to briefly grab at the video camera before hopping back in the car and driving away. The brief encounter sparked a months-long investigation by the city's Independent Police Review (IPR), one that was challenged by Groshong's boss, Captain Mark Kruger (a now-retired PPB officer known for erecting a memorial to Nazi soldiers in a public park two decades ago). The investigation ended with little punishment: Groshong was assigned a mandatory meeting with PPB command staff to be advised about his actions.