My partner has been going through a very drawn-out battle against the Portland police, mainly in regards to a single police officer. This officer had used various police resources and people to access personal information about my partner despite those inquiries having no lawful purpose. They also pulled information about family close to my partner too, which has been their own standalone case. This information gathering continued to happen on and off for years, some of which even took place after we told the city that we were concerned this may be happening — this was affirmed through an audit and investigation that took place.
This particular officer has also had a past of other misuse of police resources, some of which they've been punished for or put their job at risk of termination. Throughout our research, their action clearly violates policies and some of the guidelines deem these repeated actions as being immediate grounds for termination. However, the feedback we've gathered so far suggests that this officer not only wasn't terminated or adequately punished, but that they've continued to retain full access to these systems that were abused.
We're suspicious that there may be quite a few people in cahoots that is allowing this officer to avoid necessary punishment. Some of this suspicion comes from numerous contradictory claims in their communication compared to the documentation we received; the lack of transparency and effort when they were forced to report to other agencies (even ones above them); and that they have repeatedly went well beyond the deadlines of numerous statutes, resulting in some opportunities of tort to be impossible (we found these out afterwards, of course).
It's worth noting that we've contacted a few lawyers. Some claim this case doesn't align with what they practice or is much bigger than they can handle; others have claimed that it may not be financially feasible to fight.
If we went after the city (or state) for something like negligence (or whatever term fits the broad issues above), is it likely that we can recover monetary damages (and/or attorney fees) since they seem to have sided with the officer?
- My partner has diagnosed PTSD as a direct result of these ongoings.
- This case impacted my partner's ability to continue with college and they needed to drop out. They intend to re-enroll as soon as financially possible.
Are there any laws that force the police bureau to only retain quality officers for the public's best interest?
- Essentially, does the police bureau need a good reason for keeping this officer despite the guidelines saying they should be terminated?