PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is planning on suing the City of Portland for wrongful leaks of information after a police report falsely accusing her of a hit-and-run crash was leaked to members of the media.
In a tort claim submitted by her lawyers, Hardesty claims “City employees wrongfully leaked false information to right wing media sources and the Oregonian accusing her of engaging in criminal “hit and run” on March 3, 2021.”
The city agreed to conduct an investigation into the matter, and the Portland Police Bureau also said they were conducting an internal investigation.
Her lawyers, Matthew C. Ellis and Stephen L. Brischetto, released a statement to KOIN 6 on Wednesday, saying:
Matthew C. Ellis and Stephen L. Brischetto are proud to represent Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty in her quest for justice after being wrongly and publicly accused of criminal activity by members of the Portland Police Bureau. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has filed a notice advising the City of her intent to pursue a tort claim against the City. Commissioner’s Hardesty’s notice alleges that City employees wrongfully leaked false information to right wing media sources and the Oregonian accusing her of engaging in criminal “hit and run” on March 3, 2021. The tort claim notice alleges that City employees leaked the false information in violation of City policy and state law. Commissioner Hardesty alleges that the leaked false information was racially motived and designed to punish her for her longstanding and public opposition to race discrimination by the Portland Police Bureau against fellow citizens of Portland.
Commissioner Hardesty has been a champion for civil rights for years – and her advocacy for true police accountability has made her a target of criticism from employees of the Portland Police Bureau and the PPA. She is, for many within the Bureau and the PPA, Public Enemy No. 1. Yet, despite attempts to punish her for her advocacy and force her out of office in retribution for her tireless and effective advocacy, Commissioner Hardesty will not be silenced. In the spirit of transparency, accountability, and justice, we look forward to her day in Court when she can tell her side of this story to a jury of her peers.
A group called Coalition to Save Portland was the first to report the news on a Facebook Live, saying a law enforcement official had leaked the police report to them. The police report said a hit-run victim named Hardesty as the driver of the other car.
She was cleared as a suspect by Portland Police later in the day.