OSP troopers without masks in coffee shop ‘indefensible’

Coronavirus

Troopers seen without masks in Corvallis, did not put them on when asked

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Four Oregon State Police troopers went into a Corvallis coffee shop without wearing a mask, which prompted the OSP superintendent to put at least one of them on administrative leave during the investigation.

In a statement, OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton said he wanted “to publicly address the conduct” in an article posted by The Oregonian/OregonLive. The article states one of the troopers allegedly told the store’s assistant manager that Governor Brown “has no authority to take our civil liberties. We aren’t going to wear masks.”

Hampton took issue with that.

“Not only are police officers expected to comply with the Governor’s emergency declaration orders, I expect them to set the example for Oregon’s residents as we strive to fight this invisible enemy- the Coronavirus. This conduct is embarrassing and indefensible, especially in the wake of thousands of Oregonians taking to the streets each day to rightfully demand police accountability. Like any police misconduct, the actions of a few bring discredit to the scores of dedicated officers that do not believe they are above the law they are sworn to uphold.”

Hampton apologized to the coffee shop employees and the entire community. ” I hope my apology is accepted and the swift actions of my agency provide evidence of our commitment to accountability.”

And Hampton also wanted one thing to be clear: “Oregon State Police Troopers are not above the law and this conduct is being immediately addressed.”

Gov. Kate Brown also weighed in, calling the troopers actions “inexcusable” in a statement released Thursday afternoon:

“It is inexcusable that a few Oregon State Troopers disregarded my face covering requirement yesterday, and ignored a request from a fellow Oregonian to follow the rule. Oregon State Police Superintendent Hampton and I agree that their actions and behaviors were absolutely unacceptable.

“Let me crystal clear: No one is above the law. Superintendent Hampton and I expect the Oregon State Police to lead by example.”

KOIN 6 News will have more information as it develops.

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