Former officer charged for hitting suspect with van during protests

Crime

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Police Association says a former officer is now facing charges for hitting someone with a van.

In a release sent out on Wednesday night, the PPA identified the officer as Scott Groshong, who has retired since the incident. The union says the charges are connected to when he drove an undercover van during protests earlier this year, searching for criminals within the group.

They did not specify which night, but the PPA says the officer spotted some individuals looting from a skate shop at Northwest 9th Avenue and Davis after breaking off from a larger protest crowd. KOIN 6 News reported on a skate shop in the same area was burglarized back on June 15, after which three suspects were arrested.

We’re now learning Groshong has been charged by a grand jury for hitting one of those alleged burglars with his undercover van.

According to the PPA, the suspect took off and ran in front of the officer’s van — causing him to be hit. A witness who reportedly watched the scene unfold said the suspect appeared unhurt and took off running, resuming his attempt to flee.

According to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, no final charges have been decided upon. The investigation into the alleged burglary remains an open matter.

Neither the PPA nor the DA has released further specifics on Groshong’s charges. In the press release from the police union, they ask the public to not pass judgment until the due process can fully run its course.

Groshong worked with the Portland Police Bureau for 27 years — mostly within the drug and vice division.

The Portland Police Bureau released a statement, confirming Groshong had been indicted by a Multnomah County grand jury. The PPB said Groshong retired in August 2020 and was still employed with the PPB when detectives learned about the allegations against Groshong on June 25. Investigations were opened by the PPB’s Detective Division and the Professional Standards Division, according to police. The Marion County District Attorney’s Office took over responsibility for the case from Multnomah County. The PPB said it transferred its investigation to the Salem Police Department on July 2. The Marion County DA’s Office later presented its case to a grand jury in Multnomah County, where Groshong was indicted.

“As policing professionals, we have a responsibility to ourselves, to each other, and to our community to adhere to the oath we swore as public servants. We have to hold each other accountable to the high standards of our profession and the expectations of the community,” said Acting Chief Chris Davis. “It is important that we refrain from passing judgment as the process continues. People are innocent until proven guilty in court. It is important to know our process of police accountability is working and is proceeding as it was intended.”

Since protests began, a city oversight agency has received nearly 100 complaints against police officers related to ongoing protests across Portland.

The City Auditor’s Independent Police Review received a large number of complaints in the first few weeks following George Floyd’s death. According to new data released Wednesday, the IPR and Internal Affairs have opened 97 protest-related cases since complaints started being filed in late May. Forty-nine of those cases contain allegations of excessive use of force.

The number of complaints spiked in June, according to the IPR’s data, with 46 complaints relating to protests compared to 36 others that were not protest-related. KOIN 6 News previously reported the oversight agency has seen what would typically be a year’s worth of cases in the span of a few months, leading to a bottle-neck backup of complaints — many of which were waiting to be processed through the IPR’s intake system.

This is a developing story.

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