If the mayor had waited just another a couple of days, it would have been a year since Officer Brian Hunzeker got in touch with a reporter to let her know that City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty had been involved in a hit and run.
The incident had happened a bit earlier in the evening.
A woman had called 911 saying that a car had sideswiped her car by Burnside and Southeast 148th Avenue. When officers arrived, the woman told them that the car had been Hardesty.
Within hours the information had been linked to several media outlets including a conservative blog saying the Hardesty was involved in a hit and run. In some cases the information had leaked before Hardesty was even contacted.
It turned out that Hardesty had been nowhere near the incident and didn’t even drive a car similar to the one described.
Find out what’s happening in Portland with free, real-time updates from Patch.
An internal probe turned its results over to the Police Review Board in October.
That probe found that Hunzeker, who had been president of the Portland Police Association, the union representing rank and file officers, had leaked the information for Hardesty’s criticism of officers and the police bureau.
“There were many reasons Officer Hunzeker cited as the driving factors for why he shared the information,” the report stated.
On Monday, Hunzeker received a letter from the city saying that he had been fired.
“Portland has many police staff who meet and exceed these public service values,” Wheeler said. “These are the kind of officers and public safety specialists I want to recruit, support, and promote.
“Police reform also means calling out actions that fail to meet these standards of public service.”
“As the investigation determined, Officer Hunzeker’s actions also amounted to retaliation against a democratically elected member of the City Council due to her criticisms of the police bureau,” Wheeler said.
“Officer Hunzeker’s actions harmed Commissioner Hardesty and harmed the community’s trust in the Police Bureau.”
Wheeler, who is police commissioner in addition to being mayor, then apologized to Hardesty on behalf of the police bureau.
He also said that while he and Police Chief Chuck Lovell “agreed on the gravity of these policy violations but we disagreed on the level of discipline to impose.”
The report, which determined that the actions against Hardesty were retaliation for her criticisms of the bureau and not because of her race, found that two others – Officer Ken Le and Officer Kerri Ottoman – also leaked about Hardesty in violation of police policy.
Wheeler’s office said that the disciplinary process is ongoing for the other two officers.