The Portland (Oregon) Chief of Police ordered his officers to remove Facebook posts in support of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, after St. Louis County prosecutors announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown. At least three Portland police officers had posted images on Facebook in support of Wilson of their badges covered with what appears to be an armband with the words “I AM DARREN WILSON,” as reported by Oregon Live.
“The image displayed does not represent this organization and was very inflammatory in nature,” said Portland Chief Mike Reese in a statement released to media. “Officers certainly have a right to have and express their opinions but not using an official badge of the Portland Police Bureau. The badge represents all members of the organization, past and present, and is an important symbol in our community that must not be tarnished. I’ve asked the Professional Standards Division to review this matter for possible policy violations.”
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales also released a statement, praising Reese for ordering the officers to remove the images and for initiating a Professional Standards Division review. “Chief Reese did the right thing,” said Hales.
“The officers made a political statement by altering the city’s official badges,” continued Hales. “They were wrong to do so. Their actions do a disservice to the hundreds of Portland Police Officers who are building relationships and partnerships with the community every day. I urge officers to follow the guidelines issued by my office, and by the Portland Police Bureau command staff, to work with our community in the days to come, cooperatively, and to address the very real issues of police and community relations.”
The Portland Police Union President, Officer Daryl Turner, was unavailable for comment, and the three officers so far who have been named as being involved in posting the images — Rich Storm, Rob Blanck and Kris Barber — also have not commented publicly on the matter.