The Oregon Department of Justice has found insufficient evidence to charge a Portland police detective with crimes connected to the officer’s conduct during the city’s 2020 racial justice protests.
Det. Erik Kammerer worked as a member of the police bureau’s Rapid Response Team. During the 2020 protests, members of the team wore numbers as identification, rather than name tags. Kammerer’s was 67, and he developed a reputation for using force against protesters and independent journalists.
“Special agents began an investigation into four allegations involving individuals who reported having encounters during the protests in which Detective Kammerer used force,” state prosecutors stated in their 18-page review. “... The scope of our investigation was limited to possible criminal charges, and it did not encompass review for administrative, regulatory, policy, ethical, or other violations.”
State lawyers reviewed incidents from June 4, Sept. 5, Sept. 23, and Sept. 26, 2020. The Justice Department used a combination of video evidence, statements from Kammerer and from people injured on those dates. Prosecutors considered charges of harassment, fourth-degree assault and official misconduct.
”We concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt Detective Kammerer committed a criminal act with respect to conduct that occurred during the four incidents alleged,” state lawyers wrote.
Last June, Schmidt’s office charged Portland Police Bureau Officer Corey Budworth with one count of fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, for injuring someone during an Aug. 2020 protest.
The complaints against Kammerer were referred to the Oregon Department of Justice by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt in the fall of 2020. Schmidt said his office was not involved in reviewing anything involving Kammerer under conflict of interest policies, because county prosecutors work closely with city detectives.
Schmidt’s office declined to comment.