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Portland Police Lieutenant Cleared Over Text Message Controversy.

Portland, Ore. — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw held a press conference Thursday to address the Independent Police Review (IPR) investigation into Lt. Jeff Niiya and text messages exchanged with Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson.

The Independent Police Review found that Lt. Niiya’s actions did not violate any police regulations.

The IPR’s, (view full report here) investigation included three allegations of potential misconduct. Specifically, IPR investigated whether Lt. Niiya:

  • Engaged in unprofessional behavior during his communications with Joey Gibson;
  • Maintained objectivity while communicating with Joey Gibson; and
  • Inappropriately disclosed information to Joey Gibson that allowed individuals to avoid arrest

The IPR concluded that all three allegations were  “Not Sustained”.

Following the release of the Willamette Week story in February, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued a statement regarding the incident that was investigated:

While he did not apologize to Lt. Niiya during the press conference, he did say “It would have been better had I been more overt about giving Lt. Niiya the benefit of the doubt and I would go further to say lots of officers are under an investigation at any particular time.  That’s the nature of policing, that’s the nature of policing accountability and I believe all officers deserve the benefit of the doubt.”

Portland city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty was also quick to judge.

Thursday we requested an interview with the commissioner, only to be told she was in meetings all day.  We asked her spokesperson if she would like to apologize to Lt. Niiya for the her comments on February 15th. “If there’s no fault in his comments then fault lies within the process. I look forward to the National Police Foundation’s independent findings on what Portland Police can put in place to provide better to guidance to officers.”

Lt. Niiya has now been reassigned to the bureau’s Professional Standards Division.  It’s a move that was a mutual decision according to the Commanding Officers Association

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