New PPB chief says alleged assault of stepson untrue

Marshman was investigated in 2006 for allegedly assaulting teenage stepson

Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman, June 28, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — New Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman was investigated in 2006 for allegedly assaulting his teenage stepson.

Marshman plans to release his entire personnel file next week “as a show of faith in the community,” but discussed the time he was criminally investigated with the Portland Tribune on Thursday. “Being a chief, you get an extra level of scrutiny so it makes sense to me … I’m fine with giving out my whole personnel file.”

In 2006 the Portland Police Bureau received a report that Marshman had assaulted his stepson, who at the time of the report was 20. At the time of the incident, Marshman had been living in Sauvie Island with his first wife and her son.

The report came in one year after their December 2005 divorce, well after the incident. According to an informed source, the stepson and his mother told police that incident had taken place four years earlier, when the stepson was 16 or 17, and that Marshman choked his stepson into unconsciousness, also ramming his head into the wall hard enough to break the dry wall.

Marshman says the account is not true. The way he remembers it his stepson was 20 at the time and in college, and they were arguing, presumably about how his marriage had become “rocky.” Marshman said he grabbed his stepson by his shirt and rammed him up against the wall, with no loss of consciousness. Any dent in the wall was made by his shoulder blades, Marshman says.

He says his stepson, who he called “volatile,” was yelling expletives and Marshman thought he might throw a punch.

“We got into an argument,” Marshman recalled. “I grabbed his shirt, I believe, and pressed him up against the wall in the house. I tell him to calm down. He calms down.”

Marshman’s ex-wife and former stepson declined to comment for this article.

Karen Mack, who investigated the incident for the bureau at the time, declined to discuss the incident or whether she was assigned to the child abuse team at the time. That assignment would have indicated the report said the stepson was a minor when the incident occurred. “I have no comment. I’m retired,” Mack said.

Marshman’s recollection of the age of his then-stepson at the time of the incident doesn’t appear to jibe with the rest of his recollection, that he was still married at the time. The stepson was 20 at the time of the report, but they had been divorced for a year, meaning the stepson was a teenager at the time of the incident.

More details could be forthcoming soon. Marshman intends to produce the report as early as Tuesday, after it is retrieved from archives.

Marshman, who was a sergeant when the incident was reported to the bureau, says bureau criminal investigators surprised him one day unannounced, asking to talk to him about the incident. He declined to cooperate.

“I said ‘Wow, I’m surprised, I’m not ready to talk at this time.'”

He says he was never recontacted for another criminal interview, and no charges were filed.

Later he was investigated by internal affairs, and gave an interview with them. Officers are required to cooperate with internal affairs, unlike in criminal investigations.

According to Marshman, the IA investigation came back “unproven.” But records of it have been purged, according to bureau spokesman Pete Simpson.

Marshman said, “Obviously, it’s an unfortunate incident. I wish it never happened.” He says he hopes both his ex-wife and former stepson have moved on.

Marshman also confirmed rumors of an incident in which, as a relatively new police officer, he used his lights to pull over an ex-girlfriend. “In hindsight, it was a stupid way to do it,” he says.

She apparently complained about it to the bureau, and a sergeant gave him a talking-to.

“I’ve pulled over ex-girlfriends before,” says retired Capt. C.W. Jensen, who worked with Marshman in the late 1990s. “I would say that wasn’t uncommon. If someone doesn’t get through their career and doesn’t have a few bumps along the way, you haven’t worked very hard.”

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