A mass email from a Portland Police sergeant sent to the city's downtown Central Precinct officers has sparked outrage and now an internal investigation over the message that included a graphic image of a MAGA-styled red hat with the text "Make Central [Precinct] Great Again" written across its front.
The sergeant sent the email Wednesday asking the cops to sign up for an overtime shift. An officer reported the message to the chief's office, The Oregonian reported, then the chief referred the sergeant's email to internal affairs for an investigation.
The sergeant apologized for the message in a follow-up internal email, according to Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Kevin Allen. The sergeant remains on duty while the investigation proceeds, Allen said, according to The Oregonian.
Leadership from the city's police force deemed the messaging inappropriate and an improper use of police communications. The chief cited policy that city employees may not use city resources such as interoffice mail "in support or in opposition to a candidate, petition signature collection, or ballot measure.’'
PPB Chief Chuck Lovell told bureau members Friday that he alerted Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, the city's police commissioner, about the investigation.
Wheeler reportedly plans to make the email public "to be transparent," the mayor's office said. "He has concerns about the email but declined further comment Friday afternoon on the ongoing internal investigation," The Oregonian reported.
"There is a balance between getting out in front of this and being transparent, describing that we have a thorough internal process while also protecting that process," the chief wrote, raising concerns about compromising internal protocol.
PPB has not identified the sergeant under investigation.
As violence grips the city, the mayor and police chief announced there would be increased overtime opportunity for officers after three people died and five were wounded over the Presidents' Day holiday weekend, The Oregonian reported.
The sergeant's email is not the first time that Portland Police have been in hot water over internal material. There's also an investigation over a PowerPoint slide in a police training presentation containing the "Prayer of the Alt Knight" meme.
The Oregonian innacurately reported the email "follows an ongoing internal police inquiry into a derogatory slide discovered at the end of a training presentation that advocated violence against protesters with a 'Prayer of the Alt Knight' meme, referring to Kyle Chapman, a far-right Trump supporter and street brawler."
The earliest references found online to the meme is from the police-centric Officer.com forum in 2011 and meme website Funnyism in 2014, long before the Proud Boys and Chapman were involved in brawls with the far-left. In the case of the Proud Boys, the meme predates the right-wing group's formation by years.
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