Documents: Oregon Police chief ‘compared African-Americans to monkeys’

CLATSKANIE, Ore. (KOIN) — A decorated former chief of police remains in the hotseat after his own police officers alleged he made offensive, racist remarks on the job.

Former Clatskanie Police Chief Marvin Hoover, 56, was placed on administrative leave in early August due to the incident.

“It feels disgusting to be honest with you,” Clatskanie resident Aimee Driskill said. “The reason why I am really affected by this is because I have seen my father being mistreated by police officers.”

Clatskanie police Chief Marvin Hoover was placed on administrative leave for allegedly making racist remarks, August 6, 2015. (Courtesy, The Chief)
Clatskanie police Chief Marvin Hoover was placed on administrative leave for allegedly making racist remarks, August 6, 2015. (Courtesy, The Chief)

Driskill told KOIN 6 News the allegations against Chief Hoover affected her personally. She spoke with members of the Clatskanie City Council to hear why they voted to allow Chief Hoover to step down from his position after he was placed on paid leave.

“That left a lot of us going, ‘OK? What’s the context of these comments? What happened, how did they get this information?’” she said.

In an official report filed with the Oregon Department of Public Safety, two police officers claimed Chief Hoover made monkey sounds and moved around the room with his hands under his armpits in an offensive manner.

“As Chief Hoover was comparing African-Americans to monkeys, I began to become extremely uncomfortable,” Officer D. Alex Stone said in the complaint. “I have never been in a work environment where a manager, especially an executive officer, is openly racist.”

In the documents, Officer Stone stated Chief Hoover’s racist remarks came after he was debriefed on the arrest of a woman who claimed she would file lawsuits against the police department, citing racism and discrimination.

“I relayed several of the arrestee’s remarks such as, ‘When you look at me, my black skin and my nappy hair, all you see is an animal,’” Officer Stone recalled in the incident report. “Chief Hoover interrupted me and said ‘That’s what she is.’”

Officer Stone said some members of the community began harassing him after he filed the report against Chief Hoover.

“I’ve already faced a lot of retaliation, my wife’s been forced off the road twice,” he explained. “I’ve had people in the community yelling the N-word at me.”

On Friday, Clatskanie Mayor Diane Pohl published a Letter to the Editor in The Chief newspaper regarding Chief Hoover’s resignation.

“I consider Chief Hoover an honorable man and officer,” Mayor Pohl wrote. “And so I say, thanks Chief Hoover for a job well done. You have this community’s gratitude, gratefulness and appreciation.”

Mayor Pohl’s letter failed to mention the allegations of racism made against the former chief of police.

KOIN 6 News left messages for the mayor and Chief Hoover but did not receive a response.

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