Due Process Must Run Its Course

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Daryl Turner, President
daryl@ppavigil.org

Angela Orr, Communications
angela@ppavigil.org

PORTLAND, OR: Earlier today, a Multnomah County Grand Jury charged a retired Portland Police Bureau officer with crimes related to his actions as he drove a police vehicle through the mayhem of a night of burning, destruction, and looting in downtown Portland. It is important to remember that the officer has not been found guilty of any crime. Like every citizen, the officer is innocent until proven guilty.

It is also important to know that recently Retired Officer Scott Groshong is a committed public servant of the highest integrity. Officer Groshong devoted 27 years to serving the Portland community with honor and distinction, most notably with the Police Bureau’s Drugs and Vice Division. He received numerous awards and commendations over his career for his outstanding work, integrity, and commitment to the Portland community.

Unfortunately, this decorated public servant has been caught in the crosswinds of an extremely divided city and a politicized criminal justice system. On the night in question, the officer was working undercover to find individuals who were hiding in and using the protest crowds as cover for their criminal and violent behavior. The officer saw a few individuals branch off from the main protests and walk towards downtown small businesses. With arrogance and a complete disregard for law and order, these individuals smashed the large windows of these local businesses and began stealing anything they could get their hands on.

During this crime spree, the officer was in an undercover van, near NW 9th and Davis, when individuals smashed windows and a young adult, white male stole from a small skateboarding/snowboarding shop. The officer drove towards the male suspect to document his criminal behavior. The suspect took off running. A couple of blocks away, an independent witness observed the male run in front of the witness’ vehicle. The witness reported seeing no signs of injury or fatigue as the suspect ran away. After fleeing on foot for a number of blocks, the suspect was arrested by police. Notwithstanding this clear evidence of the suspect looting a business and fleeing the scene as corroborated by an independent eyewitness, the Multnomah County District Attorney declined to prosecute the suspect for victimizing this small business and dropped all criminal charges against him.

Instead of the suspect facing consequences for looting, this veteran police officer finds himself the target of misplaced criminal charges. Incredibly, this suspect now claims the police knowingly hit him with the undercover surveillance van when the officer drove towards him to document his criminal acts. That claim is false, self-serving, and runs completely counter to the independent eyewitness who observed the suspect running away from the scene of his crime. Disturbingly, the Grand Jury never heard this key eyewitness testimony that would have been material to the Grand Jury’s deliberation.

Taking stock, a young man participated in a night of rioting and looting. He brazenly stole from a small business. An eyewitness saw the young man run from officers for several blocks, behavior that is completely inconsistent with having been hit by a police vehicle. Instead of holding the looter accountable, the Multnomah County District Attorney dismissed the charges against him. And instead of presenting all of the cold, hard facts, the outside prosecutor from Marion County withheld from the Grand Jury key eyewitness testimony. With only partial facts and falsehoods, a highly respected, honorable, retired public servant now finds himself indicted on crimes he did not commit. There is no justice when politics are injected into the criminal justice system.

We ask our community to be patient while the justice process unfolds. Wait for all the facts before passing judgment. We trust in our criminal justice system when the system fairly and objectively applies the rule of law. Once the full picture is revealed, we are confident that justice will prevail, and the officer will be exonerated of all charges.

We stand by our officer, truth, and justice.

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