It appears that “going rogue” is all the rage these days, and the police officers of Portland, Oregon, seem determined to get in on the fad. A burgeoning public relations fiasco in the City of Roses revolves around one particular officer.
Earlier this month, Portland Police Officer Chris Humphreys was caught on video surveillance shooting a beanbag gun at a twelve-year-old girl at close range.
Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer reacted to this public embarrassment by putting Officer Humphreys on administrative leave.
The Portland Police Association reacted to the chief’s decision with a downtown solidarity march, where they wore shirts bearing the words, “I AM CHRIS HUMPHREYS.”
Many residents of Portland reacted to this spectacle with trepidation and paranoia. They’ve seen the videotape of the burly police officer and the little girl on the ground. And they remember that Chris Humphreys is the same officer who “fell” on a schizophrenic man who tried to elude the police and ended up dead as a result of Chris Humphreys’s “fall.”
Most citizens want to support our police. Most police officers truly strive to protect and serve their community. But when they march in support of one of their own who is perceived as having treated his fellow citizens with unacceptable brutality, they do not help their cause.
Read more about this unfortunate incident (with links) by clicking here.
UPDATE 12/1/2009: After the Thanksgiving weekend Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman backed off his prior decision, and announced that Officer Humphreys would be back at work. At least he’s restricted to a desk job.