Police Chief Hoisted On The Petards Of Political Correctness

Derrick Foxworth was, until recently, Portland’s Chief of Police. By most accounts he was a good policeman, a competent administrator and a decent leader. But last spring Foxworth was suspended with pay and then demoted this fall. He joins a long list of chiefs of police who have succumbed to Portland’s devotion to political correctness. His predecessor was forced out primarily because he was an acknowledged born again Christian who, in his private life, disagreed with the gay agenda. No evidence existed that he attempted at any time to impose his private beliefs on other members of the police force or that he discriminated against gays in any fashion. (Given the political left in Portland and its aversion to religion, my guess is that it had more to do with being a born again Christian than his views on gay lifestyles.)

Portland is ground zero for political correctness. So much so that in recent weeks, Portland’s mayor has announced that he wants every policeman to take an extensive course in “crises management” involving the mentally handicapped. And a police “watchdog” committee has demanded that the police submit written reports of the details of every stop – not just arrests, but every stop – to ensure that no pattern emerges that could suggest racial profiling. Portland’s police are prohibited from assisting the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in arresting, detaining and deporting illegal aliens because, in part, it targets minorities. Really, who do they think is entering the country illegally? Burly Scotsmen and well-to-do Swiss?

And what was the reason for Foxworth’s suspension? The allegation was that he engaged in sexual harassment of a civilian woman who worked at the police department. The allegations indicated that Foxworth and the woman had an eighteen month affair and that when she sought to terminate the relationship, Foxworth engaged in the harassment. I don’t want to diminish the seriousness of the charge, because any number of women (probably some men too) have suffered similar harassment when they made the mistake of engaging in a workplace affair – particularly with an office superior. And in this case, the victim produced a raft of graphic e-mails that seemed to confirm both the affair and the harassment.

The square-jawed, all white male Portland City Commission announced firmly that the matter would be investigated thoroughly and “let the chips fall where they may.” Several months later Foxworth was cleared of any “significant wrongdoing” and found guilty of a minor offense – inappropriate sharing of departmental information. At any rate he was given a letter of reprimand for his file. All of this despite the testimony of the victim and a ton of collaborating e-mails. Okay, you might think that the “good old boys” were protecting one of their own – covering up a messy situation for one of their appointees. And that might be true except for what happened next.

Shortly after the investigation cleared Foxworth, he was dismissed as chief and demoted to captain. Mayor Potter told KATU that “Foxworth had used poor judgment in sharing department information with the woman [victim]. He [Potter] said he and the public expected better judgment of officers such as Foxworth.” Foxworth wasn’t dismissed for engaging in an affair with another city employee, wasn’t dismissed for engaging in harassment after the termination of the affair and wasn’t dismissed because he violated department policy surrounding the conduct between an officer and a civilian employee. He was dismissed because he “shared information” with the victim. That hardly sounds like a legitimate reason for dismissing someone as chief of police.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Foxworth is an African American and the victim was a white woman. I also forgot to mention that this affair and the aftermath of the affair occurred years before Foxworth was made chief of police. Have you ever spent time around a police department? Neither have I, but my brother was a policeman for several years and I can guarantee you there are no secrets in a police department. Foxworth’s affair was one of the worst kept secrets since Rosie O’Donnell came out of the closet.

But here’s the rub. Foxworth wasn’t dismissed as chief for what might reasonably be considered legitimate grounds – sexual harassment. In fact, he was “exonerated” of those allegations. Instead he was dismissed on what can only be described as dubious grounds. So you have to ask yourself, did Portland’s politically correct politicians cover up a legitimate case of sexual harassment to protect their African-American police chief? Or, did they dismiss Foxworth as chief because he was a black man having an affair with a white woman?

In either case, watch for the taxpayers to foot the bill as the Portland City Commission winds up settling both cases by paying substantial sums in exchange for nondisclosure agreements. After all it isn’t their money but it is their reputations.