Salem Police chief apologizes for officer’s comments

Marion County

A video is circulating that commenters say show unfair and uneven treatment

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore apologized for what some call a prime example of injustice involving one of his officers.

The officer, seen in a live-streamed video taken by freelance journalist Joe Smothers, tells armed men who were guarding businesses in downtown Salem — including the Glamour Salon — how they could avoid the curfew on Sunday night.

“If you are walking on the sidewalk it’s a violation. If you are walking on the sidewalk or in a business like that it is not a violation,” the officer is heard saying.

In that same video,  you can hear the officer say they don’t want to look like they’re playing favorites.

Sunday’s protest was declared unlawful and tear gas was used.

“I don’t feel like there is anything wrong,” said Smothers, a freelance journalist. “I feel like it’s being misinterpreted that a lot of people are taking it out of context with him saying favoritism because he also did say that he doesn’t want any conflicts to arise, that he didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”

Wednesday night, Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore addressed that very video.

“A streaming video many of you have seen has resulted in phone calls and emails decrying the words which were spoken by one of our officers,” said Moore. “The message we have received is a concern that we are treating people differently.  For that I tell you, I am sorry.  Sorry that there is even a thought that this department would treat some different than others.”

Commenters said this was unfair and uneven treatment and it shows just how unfair the justice system can be as protesters near the capitol were hit with tear gas and flashbangs.

Chief Moore said the officer had not been fully briefed about enforcement of the curfew before he spoke to the group. He added the officer involved had dedicated his life to the department and to the community.

Chief Moore said his department polices behaviors and situations, not individuals. Moore says he will make sure officers are properly educated before being deployed to the field.

The curfew in Salem — 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. — was extended through June 8.

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