Cop Who Wrongfully Arrested Black Man Gets Probation

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A fired police sergeant in a Portland, Oregon, suburb has been sentenced to probation and ordered to complete community service and cultural sensitivity training after pleading no contest to first-degree official misconduct for his role in the wrongful arrest of a Black man.

Former West Linn police Sgt. Reeves, 43, appeared by phone from his home in Montana for the hearing Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Judge Michael Greenlick accepted the negotiated plea on the misdemeanor charge and the jointly recommended sentence.

Reeves arrested Michael Fesser of Portland on a bogus theft charge at the behest of then-Police Chief Terry Timeus in 2017. Timeus ordered the investigation of Fesser as a favor for a friend who was Fesser’s employer at a towing company. Fesser said the arrest was in retaliation for his complaints about a racially hostile work environment.

Greenlick ordered Reeves to complete a year and a half of probation under the supervision of the judge. He must complete 85 hours of community service with a nonprofit organization and 15 hours of cultural diversity and sensitivity training within six months.

During his probation, he must not apply for any law enforcement job in Oregon or any state and must have no contact with Fesser. In 2021, a state board revoked Reeves' police certification in Oregon for life for his dishonesty and discriminatory behavior in Fesser’s arrest.

Assistant Attorney General Tobias Tingleaf told the judge he didn't consult Fesser about the deal because he considered the state and the public to be the victims in the criminal prosecution of Reeves.

Fesser called that a slap in the face and said he’s flabbergasted that the state prosecutor didn’t think he was the victim in this case.

“I’m beyond upset, mad and disappointed,” Fesser said. “There’s no justice.”

Reeves is the only officer prosecuted for a crime in Fesser's indictment and arrest. Federal, state and local agencies began investigations into the arrest after The Oregonian/OregonLive reported in 2020 that the city of West Linn paid $600,000 to Fesser to settle his civil rights suit against its police force.

Multnomah County prosecutors dropped theft charges against Fesser, and the towing company paid $415,000 to Fesser to settle a separate discrimination and retaliation suit.

David Lesh, Reeves’ defense lawyer, told the judge that the case against Reeves was “not as black and white” as the state alleged, but Reeves wanted to resolve it. Reeves didn’t comment.

West Linn also fired Police Chief Terry Kruger, who had defended Fesser's arrest to the City Council. A state board last year also stripped Timeus of his police certification for life.

Last summer, Mike Stradley, a former West Linn police lieutenant, agreed to resign as a police training manager for the state’s public safety academy after he was investigated for his role in Fesser’s arrest.