Despite protestations by friends of a man killed by Portland Police Officer Leo Besner, Chief Mike Reese promoted the officer today to sergeant. The Skanner News' Lisa Loving wrote an investigative story into a lawsuit by local businessman and attorney Sean Hartfield, who accuses Besner of improperly detaining him and treating him like a criminal despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Read that story here
Here is a release from former city council candidate Jesse Cornett on the promotion of Besner:
"As a close friend of the Raymond Gwerder and representative of his family, I would like to applaud Mayor Sam Adams for meeting with us and pushing to enact annual performance reviews and ensure that lawsuits relating to brutality are considered as a component of promotions and express our disappointment in the promotion of now Sergeant Leo Besner.
In promoting Besner today, Police Chief Mike Reese erred in his decision to dismiss the critics of that decision as being ubiquitous and never satisfied. We are both limited in number and had a narrow focus.
The Police Bureau's decision to offer the release anew of the files related to Besner's shooting death of Gwerder indicates that as a result of our advocacy we are indeed being treated as foes by the PPB. This issue has never solely been about Ray's death and the PPB is keeping the focus there so the media doesn't ask too many questions about the other incidents of violence that Leo Besner has been involved with. Those cases include:
- Bill Ellis an antiwar protestor who was targeted and punished with a beat down by Besner for his perceived leadership role in a protest.
- 15 year old Maria-Janeth Rodriguez-Sanchez who was roughed up by Besner while she waiting at a bus stop
- Charles Lincoln who was tasered by Besner while attempting to restrain a woman who had a knife
- Harold Hammick, Ri'Chard Booth and Alex Clay whe were terrorized by Besner for nearly an hour in a parking garage in Portland before being released without being charged with a crime.
- Sean Hartfield who was recently detained by Besner in his own store
Along with the Gwerder files, PPB should release the files on all of the above cases to the Portland media
Until today, we maintained faith in Police Chief Mike Reese's leadership. The faith was not lost because of his decision to promote Leo Besner, but because of the decision to actively dismiss the concerns of the citizenry PPB is sworn to protect and instead treat us as the opposition. Reese's quoting of President Theodore Roosevelt highlights an over simplicity and arrogance on his part. Just because all Portlanders don't carry a badge, doesn't mean we aren't in the arena. Quite the contrary. Further, the Chief doesn't seem to understand the importance of citizen input in our city. We hereby ask Mayor Adams to admonish Chief Reese for his combativeness and choosing to make a bad situation worse."