The City of West Linn (south of Portland) is having a city council meeting on Monday at 2 pm. They accept public comments on their website, if you are unable to attend the meeting in person. You can also sign up to do a live video comment at their public meeting.
Here is where you can submit your comment:
https://westlinn.granicusideas.com/... /1433-city... /agenda_items
Here is my comment (feel free to plagiarize as you see fit, or make your own!):
I recently found out that there is an officer on the West Linn police force,Tom Newberry, who said in 2018 that a Black Lives Matter protest was an occasion for "target practice", and that people should push their gas pedals to drive through demonstrators. He was fired after an investigation, but was later reinstated following pressure from the union, and awarded $100,000.
Also the police chief Terry Kruger came to West Linn after a sordid history with the Portland Police Department which included shooting and killing two unarmed men.
Kruger killed 20-year old Deontae Keller in the back in February, 1996 because Deontae, a young black man, ran when police pulled him over. Deontae's father said that he was scared because he knew he didn't have a driver's license, but that is not a capital offense, and not one that he should have been executed for. After Kruger shot Deontae, he left him to bleed for over an hour without letting medics treat him until after he bled to death.
In 2005, Terry Kruger shot and killed Ronald Riebling Jr., a white man, who held an umbrella when he came out of his ex-girlfriend's duplex.
Most recently, Chief Kruger was exposed as having been informed about and involved in a lawsuit that he said he had recused himself from. This was a racial discrimination lawsuit brought by Michael Fesser, 48, who had been wrongfully arrested by West Linn police at the request of Fesser's boss, who owns A&B towing. Former Chief Timeus ordered the theft investigation as a favor to a fishing buddy, Eric Benson, a West Linn resident and longtime owner of A&B Towing Co. based in Southeast Portland. Benson was Fesser's boss at A&B Towing and targeted Fesser because he had complained about racist comments and harassment at work.
Kruger is also friends with the businessman who made the unfounded accusations that led to the arrest. But even though he said he had recused himself, in March 2020 it was revealed that he had been receiving communication about and had given guidance on the lawsuit.
Fesser's lawyer stated that "it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the old- boy network that was at the heart of the racist actions in this case are not part of some bygone era".
Can you imagine that in 2020, a black employee should have to endure racial discrimination and harassment at work, and when he challenges that treatment to his boss, the boss does nothing but instead goes to his buddies on the police force to get the black employee arrested on false charges? This seems like something that is from last century. But it is real, it is happening right here in West Linn, and Terry Kruger is right in the middle of it.
So my question to you, Mayor Axelrod and City Council members is: will you fire Terry Kruger and Tom Newberry?
Will you de-fund the West Linn police to put an end to this "old boys' network" once and for all, and work with the community to create an alternative system that will meet their needs for safety and support?
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