Police

Portland Cop Told Subordinates To Shoot Random Black People. He'll Likely Get a $100K Payout.

Thank the police union.

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Erik Lattwein/Dreamstime.com

A Portland police sergeant was fired last year for suggesting to his fellow officers that they should shoot black people for no reason. More than a year later, he's in line to receive a $100,000 settlement from the city.

Former Sgt. Gregg Lewis' exact comments were only made public by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's office yesterday, nearly two years after Lewis made them. That's because the city council is currently debating how to deal with a grievance filed by the Portland Police Association following his termination.

During the council's debate yesterday, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty (D–19) revealed what she claimed were the remarks that got Lewis in trouble. Hardesty later admitted in a statement that "the paraphrased remarks" she remembered were different "from the quotes used in the official report." Still, Hardesty's actions prompted Wheeler's office to release Lewis' termination notice, reported The Oregonian.

According to the notice, Lewis' comments, which he admitted to making, came in front of more than a dozen officers and three sergeants as he conducted roll call in February 2017. A fellow officer reported that Lewis was discussing the detoxing of drunk individuals in parking garages. "If you come across a guy in a suit and tie that came downtown and had a little too much to drink," the officer reported Lewis as saying, "he's probably not the guy you want to detox straight out of the garage. He will most likely sue you. If it's a homeless guy, you will probably be safe. I doubt he's going to sue you."

At that point in the discussion, one of the cops present brought up a critical reader comment on a newspaper article about the fatal Portland Police shooting several days prior of Quanice Hayes, an unarmed black 17-year-old. "PPB kills black people, but only injures white people," the comment reportedly read. Lewis allegedly responded: "Well, let's just go out and kill all the black people." According to a different officer's account of what happened, Lewis said: "If they are black, just shoot them."

Lewis' comments were investigated by internal affairs and human resources. According to his termination notice, he didn't deny making them, but insisted he was trying to be humorous. Lewis told an investigator:

There had been these ridiculous statements in the media about the decisions we make when we shoot people. So these conversations had gone on right before roll call in the locker room, there had been conversations about that particular topic. So, as we were just getting finished, I remember saying, and I thought it was kind of humorous, in light of these stupid conversations in the media, so, you know, unless it's a black guy, then we just shoot them.

Lewis also claimed he has "a habit of sometimes being sarcastic," though he admitted his comment was "inappropriate." Regardless, Lewis was fired on January 12, 2018. "Your remarks shocked and left a negative impression on the officers and sergeants who were present," reads his termination letter, which was signed by Police Chief Danielle Outlaw and Wheeler, who as mayor also serves as police commissioner. "It does not appear you fully understand the impact of your statements and the implication that you were encouraging or condoning mistreatment of a group or class of individuals based on their race."

But that wasn't the end of it. The Portland Police Association filed a grievance regarding Lewis' firing, which the city denied, thus prompting the police union to move toward arbitration, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Under a proposed settlement, Lewis' firing would be revoked so he could retire, receiving back pay totaling $100,020.53 in the process. However, he would not be able to work for the police department or the city ever again. The city attorney sees this as the best course of action, believing that the city would lose an arbitration fight against the union. In such a scenario, Lewis would be eligible to be re-hired, and he'd probably receive the back pay as well.

It's a no-win scenario, as several commissioners acknowledged in the council chambers yesterday. "I feel physically ill about supporting this settlement," Commissioner Amanda Fritz said, according to KPTV. "The most important thing is to get rid of this person on the police force."

"None of us are happy with this outcome," added Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. Wheeler senior adviser Berg Nelson, meanwhile, explained that while "nobody's happy with this decision," it "is the only way we can ensure this individual never works for the city ever again."

This case illustrates the immense power police unions hold in the public sector. When unions defend bad cops who do or say terrible things, which they often do, they have a good chance of winning. A bill proposed in the Oregon Senate would prevent arbitrators from overturning disciplinary actions against police officers as long as the facts of the case are not in question. However, this only applies if the discipline "was made pursuant to discipline guide incorporated into agency's disciplinary policies," according to the bill's summary.

As Portland Cop Watch's Dan Handelman pointed out in public testimony yesterday, the bill might not even apply to this case. According to the Portland Bureau of Police discipline guide, the maximum punishment an officer can receive for "offensive or discriminatory language" is a two-week suspension without pay.

The city council, meanwhile, will vote on the settlement next Wednesday.

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  1. “Yeah, I love unions, let’s vote for unions! Nothing could go wrong!”

    1. I wonder if the progtards understand that it’s their pro union no matter what policies that created this situation in the first place.

      Probably not. Progtardation stunts any real self awareness.

      1. That plus always pushing for more feed cash in the public trough.

      2. Of course they understand. After they create the situation they campaign on a platform of fixing it, its a racket

  2. If you come across a guy in a suit and tie that came downtown and had a little too much to drink,” the officer reported Lewis as saying, “he’s probably not the guy you want to detox straight out of the garage. He will most likely sue you. If it’s a homeless guy, you will probably be safe. I doubt he’s going to sue you.”

    That is just telling the truth. I don’t see how you should punish anyone for telling the truth.


    At that point in the discussion, one of the cops present brought up a critical reader comment on a newspaper article about the fatal Portland Police shooting several days prior of Quanice Hayes, an unarmed black 17-year-old. “PPB kills black people, but only injures white people,” the comment reportedly read. Lewis allegedly responded: “Well, let’s just go out and kill all the black people.” According to a different officer’s account of what happened, Lewis said: “If they are black, just shoot them.”

    That was a sarcastic remark. Sorry but when the next story down is about the Houston police kicking down the door and murdering a couple, I am having a hard time putting a cop making a sarcastic remark to other police very high on the priority list. Not every story about cops is worth reporting. Really.

    1. My thoughts exactly.

    2. I’m the mind of a progtard, the question then becomes, ‘what color we’re all the people in the Houston shooting’?

      1. You seem to be the only one asking that question.

    3. After all, this is Portland we’re talking about.

    4. I’m agreeing, at least on what I’ve seen in the article. I also don’t like that this encourages this common narrative that the issue with the police is racism. It detracts from the deeper systemic issues that plague our police. The unchecked authority that allows them to act with an extreme degree of impunity.

    5. Agreed

  3. I Brake For Sarcasm.

  4. Former Sgt. Gregg Lewis’ exact comments sound a LOT like Der TrumpfenFurher’s remarks! If Der TrumpfenFurher says that all of the illegal sub-humans should be roasted and eaten, since they’re just meat, and not REAL humans, and the “trial balloon” goes over fine, and nearly everyone accepts it (and then acts on it), then Der TrumpfenFurher is just fine with it.

    If on the other hand (other tentacle in the case of Der TrumpfenFurher actually), the public rises up in indignant outrage, then Der TrumpfenFurher was “just kidding”!!!

    HOW can ye morons not see the HUMOR in it all!??!?!

    1. “…exact comments sound a LOT like Der TrumpfenFurher’s remarks! ”

      Careful. Your TDS is showing. Try the theater of the absurd down the street.

      1. Oh bullshit!

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..cb41629f84

        President Trump’s ‘jokes’ are no laughing matter

        Der TrumpfenFurher is willing to “joke” us all into the next holocaust. The NAZIs had Jews for scapegoats. Der TrumpfenFurher has illegal sub-humans. Mark my words!

        1. Well, progressives have asked for more immigration camps with amenities. Like showers.

        2. How dare you link to a Max Boot column without warning me.

          1. It’s a wapo link. Did you expect something of worth?

  5. “It does not appear you fully understand the impact of your statements and the implication that you were encouraging or condoning mistreatment of a group or class of individuals based on their race.”

    Impact of statements upon whom? The officers were the audience. FFS if the officers present were encouraged than the sgt. was not the problem.

    Gotta love that there is conflicting recollection amongst cops as to his actual statement. Citizens do not stand a chance.

    That said, the sgt. deserves his retirement. F the PC police who cannot take a joke. What would they say if the sgt. was black?

    1. If the Sgt. was black they would probably investigate any white officers present and check for evidence of smirking.

    2. Gotta love how you ignore this tiny detail:

      Lewis’ comments were investigated by internal affairs and human resources. According to his termination notice, he didn’t deny making them…”

  6. The city attorney sees this as the best course of action, believing that the city would lose an arbitration fight against the union.

    Black Lives Matter, right up until it fucks with the union.

    1. As a purley practical matter, he is likely correct and this was the only way to get rid of him.

  7. Only 100K?

    He should OWN their whole city.

    He made a sarcastic remark in response to an SJW whine.

    Anyone who doesn’t understand that has some serious mental health issues.

    1. They should be able to fire people freely.

      1. Yeah?

        Cops burned THAT bridge a LOOOONG time ago.

        And progs do everything that can to make sure it STAYS burned.

  8. I’m starting to think the real goal here is to snuff out humor. Imagine a fuzzy slipper stomping on a clown’s face, forever.

    1. I’m too busy witnessing the reality of police killing unarmed taxpayers to imagine clowns.

  9. So which government employees have free speech rights?

    College professors should have unlimited protections, but cops should have little or none? What is the principle here, and how does it apply?

    1. This isn’t about his free speech rights.
      It’s about his failure to perform his job in an appropriate manner.

  10. I can’t focus outrage here. Can’t we just all agree everyone involved needs an enema?

  11. Do they laid off BuzzFeed reports now write headlines for Reason?

    1. There;’s nothing I like better than posts which revel in sweet irony like, “Do they laid off BuzzFeed reports now write headlines for Reason?

  12. …reads his termination letter, which was signed by Police Chief Danielle Outlaw…

    Um…

  13. Forget sarcasm, there’s no humor allowed at all in woke Portland.

  14. To be clear, I don’t think firing him was a good personnel decision, but for me the overriding issue is that there shouldn’t be arbitrators overruling the decisions of duly-elected officials. It’s one thing to have a standing court to enforce laws for everyone, but a special arbitration system, with no accountability, extorted by public-sector union pressure? I don’t care if he got fired for saving puppies, this is no way to run a city.

    1. Because all “duly-elected officials” are always 100% correct? Nope, can’t agree with this logic. Elected officials have done, are doing, and will continue to do things that require correction. The more ways they can be corrected the better.

      1. Sadly police officers don’t think they need to adhere to the same standard.
        As this incident demonstrates, the PPA didn’t want to correct the department for the better,
        It wanted to reward a bad cop.

  15. So… if someone had mentioned that a disproportionate number of blacks are shot and killed by the police, and he had responded with “Well, one solution is to kill more whites”, the response would have been… the same?

    CB

    1. It should have been.

      Sadly the concept of just killing fewer people is one the limited minds of law enforcement never has been able to get it’s head around.

  16. “is the only way we can ensure this individual never works for the city ever again.”

    What is stopping him from moving elsewhere with his $100k and work there as an officer? Often fired police are just like pedophile priests in the Catholic church, they move around.

  17. Don’t snark if anyone, anywhere, anytime, can claim they take you seriously & literally. Or maybe carry around a “SARCASM” flashing sign and take selfies any time you want to say something less than serious?

  18. It’s these type of cases that destroy the “just a few bad apples” myth.

    The The Portland Police Association represents all Portland Police officers and that organizations fought the termination of a cop who:

    At best thinks racism and killing black people is funny.
    At worst is a racist who thinks killing black people is acceptable.

    The good apples are the cops shouting at the top of their lungs against the actions of the PPA.
    If you listen real close you just might just hear them.

    The good cops are the ones we see marching in front of the PPA’s office demanding better.
    If you close your eyes and open your imagination, you just might see them.

    1. Are you dishonest or dumb? This cop obviously thought that the idea that police kill black people for their race was so ludicrous and offensive that he made a sarcastic remark.

      That’s clearly unwise in Portland. But as a result, cities like Portland will get worse and worse police forces. People who actually murder black folks in cold blood aren’t going to joke about it. And normal people don’t want to have to weigh their every word 24/7

  19. The guy was obviously being sarcastic. There are plenty cases of actual police brutality, corruption, and misconduct; this kind of junk reporting distracts from holding dangerous people accountable.

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