SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The lead investigator into allegations of police misconduct at the Springfield Police Department is now under investigation himself, accused of lying during a public hearing.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, Springfield Police Lt. Scott McKee -- who wrote a report that was highly critical of fellow officer Ryan Stone -- was placed on paid administrative leave after an attorney for the Springfield Police Association accused McKee of lying.
Stone was placed on administrative leave following his arrest of a jaywalking transient back in April. In his report, McKee concluded that Stone used excessive force by using a Taser on Austin Stewart and throwing him to the ground for crossing the street illegally.
McKee also concluded that Stone was untruthful with investigators.
On Dec. 4, 5 and 6, a public grievance hearing was held at Stone's request. His attorney, David Snyder, argued that Stone should not have been placed on leave because he did nothing wrong. During the hearing, Snyder alleged that McKee lied to the hearing officer.
McKee said he asked Chief Rick Lewis for an investigation to clear his name but acknowledged an investigation likely would have been started in any event.
McKee said an outside investigator will be hired to look into the matter, though there is no timeline for the investigation.
Last week a special prosecutor determined that Stone should not face criminal charges for his arrest of Stewart. However, the prosecutor recommended that Stone's conduct should be reviewed internally.
McKee issued the following statement to KEZI 9 News:
"Key leaders of the Springfield police Association are utilizing the legitimate employee Grievance Arbitration process to grandstand their personal agenda and orchestrate a public attack on my credibility by falsely accusing me of being untruthful during my testimony regarding sustained police misconduct arising from a citizen report of egregious constitutional rights violations against a man of color in our community. I have been targeted because of my professional criticism of such police abuse and because I stand to disrupt a a small element of influential union leaders who hold sacred a closed door culture that would keep the public eye away from such abuses.
"Let me be clear that I am not in any way, shape or form suggesting that the command staff or the men and women of the Springfield Police Department are not the finest in the country. However a handful of specific (and eventually) named union leaders have taken on a public strategy to distract from the misconduct, of one officer by defaming my reputation in the community. This is defense strategy 101; when the accused is faced with overwhelming evidence - attack the investigator.
"While I am a law-enforcement command officer, I am also a member of this community and I have a right to defend myself when I come under attack and false allegations about my long-standing, transparent reputation and integrity are deliberately made public by those very same individuals for the specific purpose of publicly shaming me.
"I will say it loud and clear today that I take my role in this community as a champion for justice for all in my community seriously. And if you wear a uniform and a badge that is a symbol of trust and you betray that trust by violating your oath of office - I am coming after you - that is my job.
"Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation I cannot comment about the specific nature of the allegations, but I will say that it was me who called for an independent investigation as soon as these individuals publicly asserted that I am a liar. I demanded an investigation.
"These allegations and the public manner these allegations have been discussed outside the department is a deliberate undertaking to bully me because I am not tolerant of police misconduct. The blue line should be transparent, But a small group of good old boys don’t want it that way because transparency threatens the old code and brings a public eye onto things they prefer to stay behind the crime scene tape.
"**** THIS is a not-so-subtle example of the kind of harassment that I have been subjected to at the hands of these police union representatives.
Photo provided by Lt. Scott McKee.
"This digital COLOR image was placed over a framed family photograph in my office within the Springfield police department which publicly faces other employees work areas and invited guests from the public - it depicts the severed head of a police employee who is under investigation with the quoted meme “ HEADHUNTING, it’s not just for natives.“
"I am loyal to the citizens of Springfield, the Springfield police department and the the men and women who proudly wear the Springfield police badge and honorably serve this community. I am loyal to the command staff and Chief Richard Lewis, who is a great leader and trusted friend. But when it comes to my personal integrity and that of my family, I will not remain silent and allow bullies hiding behind the same badge I wear with pride to run me over."
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