One of the three Portland police officers that posted a photo on Facebook of his badge covered with an “I AM DARREN WILSON” bracelet has been put on desk duty, according to the Portland Police Bureau.
Although Sgt. Pete Simpson reported that Officer Rob Blanck was reassigned to desk duty for a personnel issue unrelated to the Facebook post, the photo was likely a contributing factor. According to other officers, Blanck was removed from street patrol after he got into a heated argument with Chief Mike Reese, or another member of the police brass, who was addressing inappropriate Facebook posts.
The controversial posts were posted to each officer’s personal Facebook pages last weekend, prior to the grand jury finding Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson not guilty. Following the grand jury’s announcement, Reese made a statement on Monday calling the pictures inappropriate and asked Blanck, Rich Storm and Kris Barber to remove the images.
Reese noted that the images didn’t reflect the Police Bureau and were “inflammatory” in nature. He added that while officers have the right to express their own opinions, they shouldn’t do so while wearing the bureau’s official police badge.
“The officers made a political statement by altering the city’s official badges,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Their actions do a disservice to the hundreds of Portland police officers who are building relationships and partnerships with the community every day.”
Storm and Barber remained assigned to their patrol assignments, though they won’t be allowed to work during the bureau’s coverage of local protests regarding the Ferguson grand jury ruling.
Reese noted that the PPB Professional Standards Division will review the matter to determine if any policies were violated.