County reopens criminal investigation of tattoo-seeking deputy
The Multnomah County District Attorney's office has reopened a criminal investigation into the conduct of county sheriff's deputy Christopher Green, who was removed from patrol and reassigned last week after the district attorney's office formally said it was refusing to call him as a witness in court.
In the investigation of Green, which was dropped 19 months ago, prosecutors concluded that they had probable cause to charge him with coercion and official misconduct but could not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, according to an internal district attorney's office memo dated March 4, 2005. The memo said Green had asked four 'attractive' women between ages 23 and 43 to remove their bras or unzip their pants so he could look for a flower tattoo. A later review found no outstanding warrants for suspects with flower tattoos.
District Attorney Michael Schrunk confirmed Friday that the investigation into Green had been reopened.
'What we had originally was one woman who made one claim and that was investigated,' he said. 'A few more women were discovered, which we also looked at. But at this time we have learned that there might be even more women and so we're obligated to look into that.'
Schrunk sent a letter to Sheriff Bernie Giusto dated Sept. 11 officially notifying the sheriff that no prosecutor would call Green as a witness except in 'special circumstances.'
Additionally, internal district attorney's office e-mails from April and May of this year show prosecutors' efforts to effectively punish Green, asking that he be removed from the Eastside Major Crash team and informing the Regional Organized Crime and Narcotics task force that they would not use him as a witness.
Green's conduct first came to light when one of the women filed a tort claim - official notice of an intent to sue - with Multnomah County on April 15, 2004. The claim was settled out of court for $6,000.
As a result of its own investigation, the sheriff's office suspended Green without pay for a period of time it would not disclose and returned him to patrol eight months ago.
According to the district attorney's office 2005 memo, 10 facts in particular supported filing criminal charges against Green, including lying to a supervisor and Green making sure that he was alone with women when he made his requests. Seven additional facts, including that Green had a legal basis for all the stops, weighed against prosecution, according to the memo.
To read the documents referenced in this article, click the links below.
Internal prosecutor's office memo in three parts:
Letter from District Attorney Michael Schrunk to Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto