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City of Clatskanie: 'Respect' officers who reported chief

Former Clatskanie Police Chief accused of making racist comments, gestures

Eileen Park and KOIN 6 News Staff - CLATSKANIE, Ore. (KOIN) --- Two Clatskanie police officers tell KOIN 6 News their families are enduring the brunt of the harassment after they filed a complaint against their police chief, alleging he made racist comments while on the job.

On Tuesday, the City of Clatskanie released a statement urging community members to, "respect the rights of the individuals who brought this matter forward."

"I had to do this, I had to," Clatskanie Police Officer Alex Stone said.

Officer Stone says although he's facing retaliation from the community, it's only made his will for justice stronger.

"I've received death threats, a tire flattened with a nail on my driveway," he explained. "My kids, they're afraid to go outside."

Officer Stone says he felt compelled to report Chief Hoover after he allegedly compared African-Americans to monkeys while being debriefed on the arrest of a woman who said she was discriminated against.

"I relayed several of the arrestee's remarks such as, ‘When you look at me, my black skin and my nappy hair, all you see is an animal,'" Officer Stone recalled in the incident report. "Chief Hoover interrupted me and said ‘That's what she is.'"

Officer Stone and his coworker, Officer Zack Gibson, both recounted Chief Hoover's alleged racist outburst in an official complaint.

Clatskanie Mayor Diane Pohl initially failed to acknowledge the accusations against Chief Hoover in a letter to The Chief newspaper. In the piece, Mayor Pohl praised Chief Hoover for a job well done during his time with the city.

"I made those statements because I lived in this community for 19 years, I work closely with Chief Hoover on many issues," Mayor Pohl explained. "I was just thanking him for 16 years of the service he gave."

KOIN 6 News asked Mayor Pohl why the city voted to allow Chief Hoover to step down, despite an active DPS investigation.

"The investigation was completed as far as the city was concerned," Mayor Pohl said. "We do not approve nor condone any racist comments from any of our city employees."

David Rogers, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, released a statement regarding the complaint on Tuesday:

"The racist comments and actions attributed to Clatskanie Police Chief Marvin Hoover are appalling in their mockery and display of intolerance for black people. It is shocking that a chief of police would show such contempt and disrespect for people the police are supposed to protect and serve."We commend Clatskanie Police officer Alex Stone and K-9 Officer Zack Gibson for stepping forward with their complaints of the chief's actions. Their actions took courage and are exactly what we need from police who witness hateful behavior from colleagues. "We are also deeply disappointed with the actions of the Clatskanie City Council.  Allowing Chief Hoover to retire while paying him a bonus sends exactly the wrong message. Rather than holding Chief Hoover accountable for his racism, they rewarded him."

To read the full ACLU statement, click here.


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