Portland, OR – A recently retired Portland police officer has been indicted for hitting an alleged looter with a van while the accused burglary suspect was running away from a skateboard shop during a night of rioting in June (video below).
Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Officer Scott Groshong served his department for 27 years before he retired in August, The Oregonian reported.
He was conducting undercover surveillance in an unmarked police van during the late-night rioting on June 15, when he heard glass shattering in the area of Davis Street and Northwest Ninth Avenue just before midnight, according to court records.
Officer Groshong drove over to the nearby Portland Skate and Snowboard shop, where he was able to record a video showing two suspects reaching into the business and stealing three skateboards, The Oregonian reported.
Shop manager Kevin Nimick said that a third suspect showed up a few minutes later, helped himself to a helmet, and took off running across the street.
A resident down the street was recording when the unmarked police van collided with the helmet-carrying thief, knocking him to the ground.
The suspect sprang back to his feet after tumbling across the pavement, then took off running again, the cell phone footage showed.
He was later arrested, but the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute him, FOX News reported.
After getting off without charges, the suspect complained that Officer Groshong intentionally crashed into him and drove away, Portland Police Association (PPA) President Daryl Turner told The Oregonian.
Groshong adamantly denied the allegations, and an independent witness confirmed that the suspect also ran in front of their vehicle and appeared to be uninjured, Turner said.
But on Oct. 21, a Multnomah County grand jury indicted retired Officer Groshong on misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault, official misconduct, and failure to perform the duties of a driver in connection with the incident, according to The Oregonian.
“Instead of the suspect facing consequences for looting, this veteran police officer finds himself the target of misplaced criminal charges,” Turner said in a statement.
“Incredibly, this suspect now claims the police knowingly hit him with the undercover surveillance van when the officer drove towards him to document his criminal acts,” the union president continued. “That claim is false, self-serving, and runs completely counter to the independent eyewitness who observed the suspect running away from the scene of his crime.”
Turner noted that the grand jury never heard from the independent witness when the case was presented, The Oregonian reported.
He urged the community to “wait for all the facts before passing judgement” in the case.
“There is no justice when politics are injected into the criminal justice system,” he said. “Once the full picture is revealed, we are confident that justice will prevail and the officer will be exonerated of all charges. We stand by our officer, truth, and justice.”
In addition to refusing to prosecute the suspect who allegedly stole the helmet, the district attorney’s office also dropped charges of criminal mischief and burglary against the first two suspects accused of breaking into the skateboard shop, The Oregonian reported.
One of the suspects allegedly admitted to police that he smashed out the shop windows with a rock before he and his friend stole the skateboards and ran off.
Nimick said that the shop wanted to pursue charges against anyone involved in the burglary, so it is unclear why the district attorney’s office refused to prosecute any of the three suspects.
According to the district attorney’s office, a final charging decision hasn’t been made yet, and the investigation into the burglary is ongoing, The Oregonian reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: