American News Jul 9, 2020 8:09 PM EST

HATE HOAX: Local Oregon candidate admits to writing racist hate mail to himself

Umatilla County commissioner candidate Jonathan Lopez had claimed last month that the letter was left anonymously in his mailbox.

HATE HOAX: Local Oregon candidate admits to writing racist hate mail to himself
Mia Cathell The Post Millennial
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A failed local candidate in Oregon confessed to writing a racist letter to himself, according to KEPR-TV.

Umatilla County commissioner candidate Jonathan Lopez had claimed last month that the letter was left anonymously in his mailbox.

In a photo posted to Lopez’s public Facebook account, the typed letter had parts blurred out and appeared to contain racial slurs, according to a previous KEPR-TV report.

"Your not welcome here and will never be anything in this community or state!" the letter reads. "Umatilla County kills [redacted] like you and are dumped in the fields and river. That's why our crops are the best!"

In one line, Lopez wrote: "Don't waste your time trying to become anything in this county we will make sure you never win and your family suffers along with all the other [redacted] Mexicans in the area!" The letter signs off, "Sincerely, America!"

Before all of Lopez’s social media accounts were removed—including his official website lopez4umatilla.com—he had stated on Facebook that he held "no resentment for whomever wrote this" and that he was "heart broken for the lack of knowledge, education and respect missing.”

Lopez had told the East Oregonian that he "never meant to mislead the public," and that the situation was a "big misunderstanding." He just initially wanted to speak with Hermiston Police chief Jason Edmiston about racism in Umatilla County and to use the letter as an example, he said.

"I never meant to file a report, it just kind of spiraled out," Lopez said.

Edmiston said on Monday that he received Lopez's confession to the hoax. Police had initially launched an investigation for second-degree intimidation but closed the inquiry upon Lopez's admission to the letter's fabrication.

The police chief said the case would be forwarded to the Umatilla County District Attorney's office for review for initiating a false report, which is a class A misdemeanor in Oregon.

The Hermiston Police will also send over verifiable information of potential election fraud as it pertains to the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 and other false credentials Lopez had presented during his run for county commissioner. This in conjunction with a lengthy criminal history record, which may result in additional charges.

During the May 2020 primary, Lopez had allegedly made fraudulent statements in his entry in the voter’s guide about his background and education.

According to Edmiston, HPD has learned that Lopez never served in the US Coast Guard as he had claimed.

And when Edmiston ran a complete criminal history of Lopez through Oregon's law enforcement data records, he noticed a 2013 arrest in Virginia concerning "some very serious person-to-person crimes involving a weapon," Edmiston wrote to Newsweek.

Records showed that Lopez had also been arrested in 2018 for "impersonating a police officer." Neither of the charges resulted in convictions, Edmiston acknowledged, and the "matters in Virginia were all dismissed."

Under normal circumstances, Lopez would have been arrested and detained in the Umatilla County Jail, Edmiston wrote. However, due to medical concerns relayed by Lopez, the follow-up interview was conducted via telephone.

"The time spent on this fictitious claim means time lost on other matters, not to mention it needlessly adds to the incredible tension that exists in our nation today," Edmiston wrote to KEPR-TV.

"As a lifelong resident of this diverse community, I’m disgusted someone would try to carelessly advance their personal ambitions at the risk of others," Edmiston concluded.

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