PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There is insufficient evidence to charge a Portland police detective with a crime when he made arrests or used force during 2020 protests while he was a member of the bureau’s now-disbanded Rapid Response Team, according to Oregon Department of Justice investigators.
The 18-page letter from Oregon DOJ’s Jayme Kimberly to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, which was sent on Thursday and released Friday afternoon, said there was “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that Portland Det. Erik Kammerer, who was identified as “Officer 67” during the protests, committed crimes in connection with allegations Schmidt had referred to state justice officials to investigate.
The allegations were as follows: on June 4, 2020 near the Justice Center, Kammerer pushed independent journalist Leslie McLam and put his hands on her throat; on Sept. 5, 2020 in Southeast Portland, Kammerer hit homeowner Elijah Warren in the head with a baton; on Sept. 23 in downtown Portland, Kammerer pushed independent videographer Melissa Lewis to the ground; and on Sept. 26, 2020, near Pioneer Courthouse Square, Kammerer pushed Tealana Lindseth to the ground.
The letter from the senior assistant attorney general to Schmidt cited difficulties in the state-level investigation, including an ongoing internal affairs investigation and a separate Independent Police Review investigation, with obtaining records or interviewing certain “represented individuals” or gaining access to evidence.
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“As you know, the scope of our investigation was limited to possible criminal charges, and it did not encompass review for administrative, regulatory, policy, ethical, or other violations,” the letter stated, adding, “Therefore, we reach no conclusions as to the propriety of Detective Kammerer’s conduct outside of our criminal review.”
The letter stated that three of the four complainants — Warren, Lewis and Lindseth — were interviewed in the process.
Kammerer’s statements cited in the letter were to Internal Affairs, the Independent Police Review and in Force Data Collection Reports. It is unclear if he spoke with state investigators on the allegations.
Warren filed a lawsuit against the city in May 2021 for negligence and battery.
After Schmidt referred the allegations to state investigators in mid-June 2021, Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team voted en masse to resign from the unit. In January 2022, a PowerPoint training slide on protests that had been used for the RRT was widely condemned by city leaders after it was discovered by city attorneys sifting through documents in connection with a 2020 protests-related lawsuit.