On the Town
- Phil Stanford
- Portland Tribune - News
Do they learn it at the police academy?
Whatever else you might think about former Police Chief Derrick Foxworth's threat to sue the city over his recent demotion, it's a reminder that members of the Portland Police Bureau apparently enjoy a more extravagant sex life than we civilians usually ever aspire to.
Exhibit No. 1, of course, being good ole Derrick himself, who as a precinct commander back in the year 2000, was married to one woman, living with another, and carrying on an affair with a desk clerk named Angela Oswalt.
And, who knows, it might have worked out just fine if Oswalt - who somehow had the foresight to keep copies of the e-mails Foxworth exchanged with her during their brief but torrid relationship - hadn't released some of them to the media.
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But somewhere along the line, Oswalt apparently realized that what once undoubtedly seemed a bit of a lark had actually been a violation of her rights in the workplace. And that being the case, she threatened to sue the city for, among other things, all the emotional distress occasioned by the affair.
After careful deliberation, city officials determined that even the chief's hottest-and-heaviest e-mails did not violate any city rules.
They did, however, take exception to one he sent, complaining that his boss at the time, Chief Mark Kroeker, was 'covering his butt' in an ongoing SERT scandal.
As students of local law enforcement may recall, at the time the bureau was trying to downplay revelations - contained in yet another tort claim notice by a female officer claiming sexual discrimination - that members of the macho Special Emergency Reaction Team were performing training skits in G-strings and coconut bras, simulating oral sex on stage and lip-syncing Village People songs.
For discussing this undoubtedly sensitive case with a subordinate, Foxworth was found guilty of violating a city rule against - I am not making this up - spreading rumors.
For this offense, and for what Mayor Tom Potter later described as the 'larger, more important issue' of judgment, Foxworth was stripped of command, then quickly given a $106,000 a year job as precinct commander.
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But if this was supposed to shut him up, it obviously hasn't worked. Last week Foxworth threatened to sue the city for more than $1 million.
And not only that. If this ever goes to trial, his court filing makes clear, he's prepared to reveal the names of other former senior police bureau officers who 'have engaged in personal romantic relationship with co-workers and have not been disciplined for those relationships.'
And just who might Foxworth be referring to here?
Well, he's certainly been around the police bureau long enough to have known lots of senior officers - one of them, in fact, being Potter himself, with whom he worked closely as a public information officer in the early 1990s, when Potter was chief of police.
The way Foxworth and his lawyers apparently see it, Potter threw down the gauntlet when he announced he was canning Foxworth.
'I do not believe,' the mayor said, 'Chief Foxworth's example meets the standards that I, as the police commissioner, expect of the chief of police.'
Unless I miss my guess, this one is about to get real personal.