State strips police certifications over wrongful arrest
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A state board on Thursday stripped ex-West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus and fired West Linn Sgt. Tony Reeves of their police certifications over the 2017 wrongful arrest of Michael Fesser of Portland.
The state Board on Public Safety Standards & Training voted unanimously to OK the lifetime revocations for dishonesty and discriminatory behavior, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Timeus began a theft investigation of Fesser as a favor for his friend, Eric Benson. Reeves led the investigation at the behest of Timeus.
Benson was Fesser’s boss at A&B Towing in Portland. He feared Fesser, who is Black, was going to bring a racial discrimination complaint against him.
The public safety board found Timeus’ actions “discredited the policing profession.”
In 2020, The Oregonian/OregonLive revealed that West Linn paid $600,000 to Fesser to settle his federal discrimination and wrongful arrest lawsuit against the city.
Reeves had deleted text messages from his work cellphone that he exchanged with Benson on the night of Fesser’s arrest and denied they included discriminatory remarks.
The messages, obtained by Fesser’s lawyer, were filled with racist, crude and homophobic remarks from Benson to Reeves. Benson paid Fesser $415,000 to settle a separate discrimination lawsuit.
Reeves also gave Benson a letter that Fesser had written about harassment at the towing company. Police seized the letter from Fesser’s car when they arrested him on a bogus allegation that he had stolen from Benson’s business. All charges against Fesser were dropped.