Corvallis, OR – An Oregon State Police trooper was suspended after he refused to wear a face mask at a Corvallis coffee shop and made a disparaging remark about Oregon Governor Kate Brown the same day she made the order requiring masks inside all public places (video below).
The incident began when a uniformed state trooper walked into Allan Bros. Coffee & Tea to order coffee on Wednesday, KATU reported.
Store manager Travis Boss told The Oregonian that he told the trooper he needed to wear a mask, but the trooper blew off his request.
Boss said he asked the trooper, who has been a long-time customer, what he thought about the governor’s new mask order.
“Governor Brown has no authority to take our civil liberties. We aren’t going to wear masks,” Boss claimed the trooper replied.
“He said, ‘F–k Kate Brown,’” Boss told The Oregonian.
The store manager said the trooper said something like “I’m not going to wear a mask and none of us are,” and then three more troopers entered the coffee shop without masks.
Boss told The Oregonian he felt like he had to fill their drink orders because they were all in uniform, but claimed that he had sent other patrons away earlier for violating the governor’s new face mask directive.
However, surveillance video from inside the coffee shop told a very different story about how the manager treated the state troopers versus other customers.
The video showed that the four troopers were the only ones in the coffee shop when they first arrived.
But 3 minutes and 26 seconds in, the video jumps forward and there are other customers seated at a table behind the officers and two more placing orders at the cash register.
None of those customer were wearing masks.
The video showed the store manager walked around the other people who were sitting mask-less at a table and approached the group of state troopers to try again to make them wear masks.
However, the video did not show Boss asking the other customers to cover their faces.
Allan’s Bros. Coffee & Tea reported the incident to their local police department after the state troopers left, The Oregonian reported.
All four of the state troopers are assigned to Oregon State University.
Oregon State Police Spokesman Captain Timothy Fox said that the agency launched an internal investigation after they were notified, The Oregonian reported.
“The involved trooper has been placed on administrative leave,” Capt. Fox said in a statement. “OSP is early in the investigation, but if found to be true, we are thoroughly disappointed and expect our troopers to follow the governor’s executive orders and be examples in the community.”
After the story hit the media, Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton posted a series of tweets addressing the incident and called the troopers’ behavior was “embarrassing and indefensible.”
“Not only are police officers expected to comply with the Governor’s emergency declaration orders, I expect them to set the example for Oregon’s residents as we strive to fight this invisible enemy- the Coronavirus,” Superintendent Hampton tweeted.
“Like any police misconduct, the actions of a few bring discredit to the scores of dedicated officers that do not believe they are above the law they are sworn to uphold,” the superintendent continued in another post.
“Let me be clear, Oregon State Police Troopers are not above the law and this conduct is being immediately addressed,” he promised in yet another tweet. “As the leader of the Oregon State Police, I would like to offer my apology to the coffee shop employees and the community.”
Like any police misconduct, the actions of a few bring discredit to the scores of dedicated officers that do not believe they are above the law they are sworn to uphold.
— Oregon State Police (@ORStatePolice) July 2, 2020
“I am ultimately responsible for all actions of OSP Troopers & should rightfully be accountable for their conduct. I hope my apology is accepted & the swift actions of my agency provide evidence of our commitment to accountability,” Superintendent Hampton posted.
The governor’s office also responded to the media reports about the incident, The Oregonian reported.
“It is inexcusable that a few Oregon State Troopers disregarded my face covering requirement yesterday, and ignored a request from a fellow Oregonian to follow the rule,” Brown said. “Oregon State Police Superintendent Hampton and I agree that their actions and behaviors were absolutely unacceptable.”
The owners of the coffee shop said they wanted to make sure people knew they were not anti-police but were just trying to comply with the governor’s face mask mandate, The Oregonian reported.
Robert and Kathryn Morgan said their coffee shop near the troopers’ offices in Albany actually brews a special “Oregon State Police blend.”
Watch video of the incident here below: