PPB chief: Encounter with stepson ‘not my finest hour’

Police chief's ex-wife claimed he choked his stepson into unconsciousness

Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman, July 5, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Newly-appointed Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman released a statement Tuesday regarding a 2006 investigation into claims he physically assaulted his then-stepson.

Marshman’s former stepson was 20 when the incident was first reported to police in December 2005.

The new police chief’s ex-wife claimed he choked his stepson into unconsciousness and rammed his head into the wall hard enough to break the drywall.

Chief Marshman sits down with KOIN 6 News reporter Andrew Dymburt, July 5, 2016. (KOIN)
Chief Marshman sits down with KOIN 6 News reporter Andrew Dymburt, July 5, 2016. (KOIN)

But Marshman says the account isn’t true.

“I held him against the wall and, I’m sure people don’t want to know this, I grabbed his T-shirt and just kind of pushed him against the wall,” he told KOIN 6 News.

He remembers arguing with his stepson, presumably about how his marriage had become “rocky”, and ramming him up against the wall with no loss of consciousness.

When asked if this was the only time things got physical with his stepson, Marshman said “yes”. But according to newly-released documents, Marshman’s ex-wife claimed there were at least 2 other times when things got physical.

One of the incidents allegedly happened when Marshman’s stepson was 9.

“She found [Marshman] with [her son] in the bathroom… [her son] was on the floor between the toilet and the tub and [Marshman] was hitting him,” documents state.

Marshman said he was caught off guard by the claims, and that the allegations aren’t an indictment on him as the leader of Portland Police Bureau.

“I have no recollectin of what she is referring to,” he said.

Marshman hopes transparency can help rebuild trust with the public he’s serving.

He released the following statement Tuesday regarding the 2006 incident:

“Last week I was contacted by members of the media regarding a 2006 investigation into allegations that I’d had a physical confrontation with my former stepson. The allegations were investigated and presented to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, which declined to prosecute and the Internal Affairs Division investigation found the allegations to be unproven. As a result, I considered the matter personally closed. It was an unfortunate incident that occurred more than a decade ago and one that I wish had never happened.

In reading the investigative reports for the first time this weekend, I was reminded of and felt sadness over a failed relationship. It was a volatile situation and I grabbed my stepson and shoved him up against the wall. I realize that this encounter was not my finest hour as a parent and is a moment that I regret.

This is a time where the members of the community as well as the members of the Portland Police Bureau have lost faith in its leaders. As such, I have directed the Bureau to release the investigative files on the allegations made in 2006, along with my personnel file. I hope that by releasing this information and talking about it, it will demonstrate that my commitment for the Bureau to be transparent and accountable starts with me.”

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales responded Tuesday with his own statement:

“I appreciate Chief Marshman’s willingness to make his record and this investigation public. It can’t be easy to have one’s challenges as a step parent available for public scrutiny,” said Mayor Hales.

“When judging Mike Marshman’s professional qualifications to be chief over his 25 year career he has demonstrated dedication and a superior skill set to be a leader — including strong recommendations from the U.S. Department of Justice, and key community partners. I have confidence that Chief Marshman can lead complex reforms, and urgent needs the bureau must address now, and into the future.”

Internal affairs, the city and the district attorney’s office all looked into the allegations against Marshman and determined there was no criminality involved.

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