Portland Police Lt. Jeff Niiya Under Investigation
When Police Engage in Inappropriate Relationships
By: Cristal M Clark
Usually people believe that police should be and are bound because of that oath to walk the line both while on duty and off, yet the reality is simple, they like the rest of us are after all, human beings.
They too are prone to making mistakes, having less than successful relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues and making the choice to have friendships that are deemed as well, less than appropriate in the eyes of their superiors.
Portland Police Lt. Jeff Niiya is learning an important lesson about public servants and the friendships they choose, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler plans to open an independent investigation into the Portland Police Bureau, after hundreds of text messages between a police lieutenant and a right-wing organizer were made public.
This should be a very important lesson to police everywhere, regardless of personal cell phones, because you are civil servants, your data does not belong to you particularly if you are engaged with questionable individuals both on and off duty.
In a report last week by the Willamette Week, text messages exchanged between Lt. Jeffrey Niiya and Joey Gibson, the founder of Vancouver, Washington-based conservative group Patriot Prayer. Police ultimately released text message transcripts between the two which had been sent between May 2017 and October 2018.
The text messages suggested the two had a friendly relationship Jeffrey and Joey exchanged pleasantries and jokes, as well as rally plans and security arrangements. You see Lt. Jeffrey Niiya was a commanding officer for the bureau’s Rapid Response Team, which deals with protests in the city and it has city officials worried about police bias when it comes to protests organized by the right-wing group or its opponents.
On a few occasions, transcripts show that Jeffrey informed Joey about police plans at protests and rallies, as well as discouraging him from confronting other groups, like antifa.
The city commissioner, Jo Ann Hardesty, said in a statement in The New York Times that “this story, like many that have come before it, simply confirms what many in the community have already know there are members of the Portland police force who work in collusion with right-wing extremists.”
Unfortunately police must be careful of the friendships they make, some of these groups and individuals such as Joey Gibson seek to only procure friendships with law enforcement so as to learn better the inner workings of police plans around yes, rallies and protests, the friendship is quite simply nothing more than a ruse at least on the part of individuals like Joey Gibson.
Cristal M Clark