Society

Oregon Police Officer Reassigned After Tweeting About Upcoming Black Lives Matter Event

| by Jared Keever
Screenshot of Hurlman's Tweet.Screenshot of Hurlman's Tweet.

A police officer in Portland, Oregon, has been reassigned, pending an internal investigation, after he posted a message to social media complaining about a scheduled Black Lives Matter protest in the city. 

“Black Lives Matter is planning to protest at Lloyd Center on black Friday,” read the post on Officer John Hurlman’s personal Twitter account, according to The Oregonian. “Oh joy, stuck late again at work to babysit these fools.”

Hurlman, who has been with the Portland Police Bureau for 24 years, took down the tweet but screenshots were captured by others. 

He is thought to have been referring to a “Black Lives Matter, Not Black Friday” protest scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving. 

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The bureau learned about the tweet on Nov. 24, reports KGW, and responded with a statement from Portland Police Acting Chief Donna Henderson:

“Once I learned of this post, I ordered this officer reassigned to an off-street assignment while this incident is being reviewed by the Professional Standards Division.

"This post is in no way a reflection on how members of the Portland Police Bureau view these community groups or their peaceful expression of free speech. Just as with any protest or demonstration, police will work to ensure a safe, secure and orderly event for all community members and to minimize disruptions to traffic.

“We understand that tensions are running high across the United States, especially with recent incidents in other cities. At the Portland Police Bureau, we are mindful of that and remain committed to building relationships and trust in the community we serve.”

Hurlman has not commented on the recent tweet. A phone message from The Oregonian was reportedly not returned. 

The paper says it is not the first time the officer has drawn media attention. 

In September 2012 Hurlman, apparently upset by a U.S. Department of Justice press conference in which officials said a federal investigation found Portland police had engaged in a pattern of excessive force against people suffering from mental illness, sent a message from his patrol car’s mobile computer. 

“This is the same DOJ or people who created Waco and Ruby Ridge,” the message reportedly read. 

He later apologized for the comment and told The Oregonian it was a “knee-jerk reaction” to listening to the press conference.

Sources: The Oregonian, KGW / Photo credit: Black Lives Matter, Not Black Friday Event page via The Oregonian