Portland Police officer Thomas Brennan was transferred to the property warehouse five days after going to the media with his concerns about Sergeant Kyle Nice. Brennan believed his sergeant to be under too much stress to be working the streets, and recommended that he be removed from his usual duties.
This was in response to an interaction that occurred when police received a call about two houseless men playing music outside of Huber's Restaurant. Brennan says that he had already convinced the two men to move along when Nice showed up and began yelling that they were not free to leave. Nice proceeded to yell at the two men and, from Brennan's account, use harsh language and threaten the two men with arrest.
Brennan's response to the interaction at Huber's was to notify his precinct commander about his concerns that Nice was unstable and shouldn't be allowed to continue interacting with the public, due to his erratic behavior and overreaction. Brennan's concerns were ignored, so he sent an email to two city commissioners and the media.
The Portland Police Department's retaliation against Brennan for breaking the thin blue line has been swift. In June 2006, Brennan's wife was groped by his sergeant while off-duty at a co-workers birthday party. Brennan's transfer to the property evidence warehouse is also a testament to the way officers who file complaints are treated; no other uniformed officer has ever before held that position. Brennan was also suspended from the honor guard.
Brennan has a police record that includes being nominated for DUII Officer of the Year. Sgt. Kyle Nice was just recently involved in pulling a gun on an unarmed motorist while off-duty. Nice was also one of the officers involved in the death of James Chasse in 2006. Brennan by no mean embodies a "good cop." However, his case illustrates the internal functions of police departments that prevent "good cops" from ever existing.
The Portland Police Bureau claims to have made a thorough investigation of both the incident occurring outside of Huber's and the complaint filed by Brennan about the sexual harassment of his wife. However, the investigation over the Huber's incident did not include interviewing either the two houseless men involved or any witnesses to the event. The gross oversight and incomplete investigation conducted by the Portland Police Bureau is a testament to their true motivations when it comes to police violence. If they were truly concerned about the safety of all Portland citizens, the investigation would have been thorough, quick and resulted in some sort of disciplinary action. Instead, the officer who has yet to be involved in something as brutal and unwarrented as the death of James Chasse is working in a warehouse and the officer with a long list of brutality complaints is free to interact with the citizens of Portland at will.
Everyone from the bottom of the barrel to those on top, including Police Chief Rosie Sizer, is turning a blind eye to the gross inconsistencies within the Bureau. Even during a time of extreme public scrutiny after the death of Aaron Cambell in January 2010, the Bureau is behaving in completely unacceptable ways. Brennan did exactly what the system says that you are supposed to do: file a complaint, talk to your supervisor, trust in the system. Instead, the system protected those at fault. This is why we have police officers that pull the trigger instead of speak. This is why Aaron Cambell is not eating dinner with his family right now. This is why Jack Collins is dead. The community must control the police, instead of the police controlling the community.
If you wish to read the corporate media's version of the events, it can be found here: link to www.oregonlive.com