Skip to main content

Site search

Statement on alleged misconduct by three corrections deputies

Published

In April 2022, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) was notified by a federal investigator that two cooperating defendants involved in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) case shared concerning allegations of misconduct by the deputies during a meeting with investigators. The defendants alleged the deputies aided or facilitated assaults, provided contraband and allowed access to computers and personal cell phones. The alleged conduct was said to have occurred between 2018 and 2020.

The MCSO Detectives Unit opened criminal investigations into the allegations in April 2022. Due to the nature of the allegations, scope of the investigations, and for broad transparency, MCSO activated the East County Major Crimes Team. The East County Major Crimes Team consists of investigators from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Gresham Police Department, Port of Portland Police Department, Oregon State Police, and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.

On September 21, 2022, then Sheriff Mike Reese formally requested that Oregon State Police lead the investigation. On that same day, the three deputies were placed on paid administrative leave. They remain in this leave status today.

Eight months later, in May 2023, the OSP investigator concluded the investigations and referred charges of official misconduct to the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office. 

After a review by the deputy district attorney (DDA), the DDA declined to criminally charge the three corrections deputies. 

On November 14, 2023, the DDA sent a memorandum to District Attorney Mike Schmidt stating the DA’s Office would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt all elements of the alleged crimes, citing the age of the allegations, the credibility of the cooperating defendants, lack of evidence, and lack of corroborating statements, among many other factors. 

With the conclusion of the criminal investigation and the declination to prosecute the corrections deputies, the cases returned to the Sheriff’s Office for further consideration.

Sheriff Morrisey O’Donnell is providing the following statement: 

“The alleged conduct outlined in the Oregon State Police investigative records is egregious and unacceptable. I will not tolerate conduct of this nature within our organization.

I have initiated a professional standards investigation. To ensure there are no perceived conflicts of interest, and because an inquiry of this scope requires significant resources, I will be turning to an independent investigator to complete the professional standards investigations.

It is important for the community to know the Sheriff’s Office has taken significant steps to ensure oversight in our jails in recent years. Measures include, but are not limited to: 

  • Replacing and installing new interior security cameras throughout the jail,
  • Reviewing and enacting policy to ensure compliance with state law and to reflect best practices in corrections settings,
  • Reforming the adult in custody complaint process,
  • Implementing technology to record activations of security doors,
  • Expanding our corrections deputy field training program,
  • Appointing a non-sworn inspector to oversee the MCSO Internal Affairs Unit.

These measures are building blocks. I am committed to identifying and implementing strategies to ensure accountability into the future.”

In the interest of transparency, the Sheriff’s Office is providing the OSP investigation reports; they can be found at this link. The DDA’s memorandum is also being made available here

To safeguard the integrity of the processes and investigations, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is not commenting further at this time.

Recent Press Releases