Long-overdue Consequences for the West Linn Police Officers Who Racially Harassed an Innocent Citizen
Due to the unjust arrest of Michael Fesser, a Black Portland resident who had been wrongfully targeted by West Linn police in 2017, former police chief Terry Timeus and fired Sgt. Tony Reeves risk losing their official police certifications for life.
West Linn police failed to properly investigate Fesser’s case, consisting of law enforcement’s inaccuracies to speak to critical witnesses and review all accessible evidence that could have quickly proven Fesser’s innocence.
Fesser had been arrested on theft charges at an A&B Towing in an investigation led by Terry Timeus. Timeus carried out this inspection as a favor for a friend, Eric Benson, who also happened to be Fesser’s boss and owner of the West Linn towing company.
Fesser had been targeted by Benson due to his complaints about racist comments and actions of harassment being made towards him at work, deeming this worthy of a hate crime. Benson pressured law enforcement to harass Fesser with a groundless arrest in fear of being sued for racial discrimination.
Eventually, all theft charges were dropped and Fesser was paid $415,000 to settle a separate civil dispute, as he did not commit any crime. Fesser then proceeded to sue West Linn police for their unruly involvement with his case for $600,000.
Michael Fesser is just one of the many Black citizens who have been wrongfully pursued by law enforcement simply for their race. With a biased and sometimes negligent police force, there still remain many cases of racial injustice. For there to be change within law enforcement, strong reforms need to be set into place.