PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Authorities have released body camera footage showing Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputies arresting state lawmaker James Hieb at the Clackamas County Fair earlier this month.
Hieb was arrested on Aug. 17 on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer, and later released.
The state lawmaker represents Oregon House District 39 after being appointed by Clackamas and Marion county commissioners to replace Republican Christine Drazan after she stepped down to pursue a gubernatorial run.
Body camera footage shows Hieb, whose face was blurred in the released footage, wearing a white polo with his name emblazoned on it.
Sheriff’s deputies’ body cameras were rolling but without audio as they approached Hieb, who was smoking a cigarette and then put it out. The audio for the cameras is turned on shortly after they approach him, with one deputy explaining he had to stop smoking and acknowledged Hieb had by gesturing, but then told Hieb that he had been asked to leave, with Hieb saying “No, no.”
“Is that not what happened?” the deputy asked in the body camera footage.
“It depends on which fair employees,” Hieb eventually said.
The deputy then says Hieb is running for office, which Hieb acknowledges in the video.
“You don’t want this noise,” the deputy said.
Hieb’s reply is incoherent in the video.
The affidavit in Hieb’s arrest, which was released earlier this week, remarked that “his belligerent behavior disturbed citizens as they exited the fairgrounds.”
Just days after Rep. Hieb was arrested at the county fair, he sat down with Ben Edtl, a Senate District 19 Republican candidate and leader of the group “Free Oregon,” to discuss what happened that night when he was approached by sheriff’s deputies.
“They asked, ‘hey, do you have your ID?’ recalled Hieb on a video posted to Instagram. “I said, ‘yeah, it’s in my pocket, do you want me to grab it?’ and they said, ‘no.'”
However, body camera released to KOIN 6 on Friday tells a different story.
“Do you have ID on you by chance?” a deputy asked Hieb during the camera recording, with Hieb replying, “yeah.” “Can I see that?” the deputy then asked, while Hieb replied, “no, no I can’t show you my ID.”
“After reviewing the police body cam footage of his arrest, it is obvious his recollection was inaccurate. I have my own experience with alcoholism and addiction and I know, first-hand, the pain and tragedy of this disease,” Edtl said in a statement released Friday. “While I can no longer support James Hieb as a state representative, I will absolutely support him as a friend.”
While talking with Edtl and Free Oregon’s Gabriel Buehler this week, Hieb also responded to calls for him to step down, where he said he didn’t plan on resigning. Body camera video showed Hieb slurring his words and arguing with sheriff’s deputies. This week when asked about his use, Hieb went on to say he would now refrain from alcohol while serving in the State House.
“As long as I hold public office, I’m not going to drink at all,” Hieb said during the Instagram recording.
The body camera video also shows Hieb mentioned being at the fair with Clackamas County Commission Chair Tootie Smith.
“Are you here with anyone, do you have family, friends, anyone from your party?” a deputy asked Hieb in the video, who replied, “yeah, a lady named Tootie Smith.”
In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Smith said “I am appalled by the behavior of Representative James Hieb that led to his arrest at the Clackamas County Fair. In the body camera footage of his arrest, Hieb stated that I was with him at the Clackamas County Fair. This is an outright lie.”
Smith continued “I was not at the fair on the day of Hieb’s arrest and I do not personally know Hieb. My interaction with Hieb is only limited to the day the Board of County Commissioners appointed him to District 51 in early 2022. Hieb’s belligerent behavior is unacceptable and an embarrassment.”
KOIN 6 News reached out to Rep. Hieb to comment on the arrest and Friday’s video release, but did not hear back.