Before the documents were released, Attorney General Rosenblum told OPB the media attention did not drive her response to the alleged racial profiling in her office.

Before the documents were released, Attorney General Rosenblum told OPB the media attention did not drive her response to the alleged racial profiling in her office.

Don Ryan/AP

Internal documents released by the Oregon Department of Justice show that Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum may have acted to remove an employee at the center of a racial profiling scandal in response to media pressure.  

The DOJ released the documents following records requests made by OPB, the Oregon ACLU and other groups.  

In September of last year, a DOJ investigator conducted a threat assessment against his co-worker, Civil Rights Division director Erious Johnson Jr.  

The Urban League of Portland learned of the profiling and notified the media.  

In a transcript of testimony given as part of a human resources investigation at the DOJ, an unidentified employee said, “it had become such an issue because…the Willamette Week had published a story.”  

“There was a rush to execute this personnel action of putting the person on administrative leave by the end of the day…in response to the media attention,” the employee said.  

In the transcript, employment attorney Carolyn Walker asked the employee if they felt the action was “inappropriate.”  

“Yes,” the employee said. “It seemed to be a politically motivated response with a great sense of urgency related only to the fact the Willamette Week article had been posted…I felt like the push was to put the employee on leave immediately so that the Attorney General’s office could then publicly say ‘we’ve taken some action.’”  

Before the documents were released, Attorney General Rosenblum told OPB the media attention did not drive her response to the alleged racial profiling in her office, and said that the timing of the media attention and her investigation was “coincidental.”  

“From the very beginning, I put a stop to this,” Rosenblum said. “I’m the one who disclosed it. There wasn’t anybody else.”