Bad cop news

A couple of stories of note regarding the Portland police are on the wire this morning.

First, the Portland police union is getting a new president. Daryl Turner is retiring, and Brian Hunzeker, a career motorcycle cop from the traffic division, is taking over. Hunzeker (pictured) has been a vice president of the union and a member of the board of trustees of the city police and fire pension fund for quite a while.

Like many Portland police officers, Hunzeker apparently doesn't live in the city. Heck, it appears he doesn't even live in the state. This newspaper story had him living in Ridgefield, Washington, up I-5 in Clark County, in 2017. And his politics are not Portlandian. Public broadcasting wrote a story yesterday that included his social media support for Donald Trump.

A little internet sleuthing reveals a little more about him. He was the one who gave a field sobriety test to then-Congressman David Wu, when Wu crashed his rental car into a parked car and asked witnesses not to call the police. A witness said Wu smelled like booze, but Hunzeker disagreeed and let the congressman walk without administering a breathalyzer test.

Hunzeker was badly injured on the way to court in 2008 when his motorcycle was struck by a motorist in a mini-van at 28th and Sandy. For that, Hunzeker received a police bureau medal.

Probably the oddest thing I turned up on him was this listing, which shows someone by his name working as a real estate agent in Vancouver, Washington at some point:

I don't know what to make of that. It's an old directory, probably. 

Anyway, Hunzeker takes the reins of the union at a time when it is under extreme scrutiny – some might even call it attack – and the public pressure for change in the culture of the force is enormous. The union will push back hard, and I would be surprised if Hunzeker isn't perceived as a villain before Christmas. A Trump supporter from Clark County? The Portland left is going to want a piece of that.

Meanwhile, a Multnomah County grand jury has reportedly indicted a Portland cop for his actions in connection with a protest. Scott Groshong was charged with several misdemeanors after allegedly driving his unmarked police van into a man seen running away from a Pearl District skateboard shop on June 15, amidst protest-related looting. Maximum Maxine Bernstein of the Oregonian (who really gets it done) has the lowdown:

[Groshong] faces charges of official misconduct, third-degree assault and failure to perform the duties of a driver, according to a source familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak about it....

Groshong and Portland police Sgt. Chris Kenagy were doing surveillance in the area of Northwest Ninth Avenue and Davis Street and heard glass breaking, according to court records from arrests made that night. Groshong drove up to the skate shop and recorded one man reaching in and taking two skateboards and another snagging a third board before running off, the records indicate.

A short time later, another man walked up to the store, stole a helmet and darted across the street, said shop manager Kevin Nimick.

A video by an area resident caught an unmarked black van racing east on Davis Street up to the alleged helmet thief, who was running across the street near 9th Avenue, and shows the van strike him near the intersection, knocking him off his feet and onto the sidewalk....

The driver’s side door of the black van opened but no one appears to have stepped out of the vehicle, and the man who had been struck ran off, according to the video.

In the video, the alleged thief also appears to drop the stolen helmet and left it behind before he ran away, Nimick said.

The young man was arrested by other officers some blocks away but the charges have since been dropped.

The unusual indictment was the first of a Portland police officer, or at least the first I've heard of, since Mike Schmidt took over as county d.a., although for this case Schmidt apparently brought in a prosecutor from Marion County to run the grand jury. The union will doubtlessly fight the charges, and any disciplinary action, tooth and nail. Groshong has reportedly now retired.

The reaction on social media was interesting, Officer Groshong is well known, apparently.

A friend of mine on Facebook wrote: "Groshong was my RA my freshman year at Southern Oregon. That it ended like this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who knew him then."

There's plenty more to read about him, if you dig around a little. Like here and here. At one point, Groshong's supervisor was guess who. Yep, Mark Kruger, the Nazi shrine guy.

If you wrote this as a TV series, people would criticize you for having too few characters. I wonder what genre Netflix would assign it to. Maybe "Dark Comedy."