Independent Investigation Clears Officers of Alleged Misconduct September 17, 2020
While no formal complaint was filed, due to social media allegations of police misconduct taking place on Aug. 8 during a mostly peaceful protest, the City of Coos Bay engaged an independent investigator to determine the validity of the accusations.
Additionally, the City issued a call to the community to share details regarding the alleged incidents, providing direct contact to the independent investigator through Local Government Personnel Services, a unit of the Lane Council of Governments.
As communicated at the Coos Bay City Council meeting on Sept. 15, the investigator, Mike Hudgins of Salem, OR, communicated that he conducted the investigation, during which he received information from 29 individuals, resulting in interviews with those who reported to have specific knowledge of the alleged misconduct. He also evaluated comments from six police officers as well as reviewing several hours of video provided by individuals attending the protest.
Based on his investigation, Hudgins determined there was no credible evidence to suggest or indicate police officers made offensive hand gestures, and that all opposing allegations were unfounded.
Hudgins also investigated the allegation that an officer pushed a pregnant woman to the ground during an altercation at the protest. The investigator established that officers were responding to a physical altercation between a group of protesters and counter-protesters, and upon arriving, officers pushed their way through and separated those involved, which also included a pregnant female. The investigator concluded that the actions taken were aimed at keeping the peace and categorized the alleged misconduct as exonerated.