Former West Linn Police Department Sergeant Tony Reeves has been convicted of Official Misconduct in the First Degree related to Reeves’ 2017 investigation of Michael Fesser, who was an employee of A & B Towing in Portland. Mr. Reeves pled no contest to official misconduct on July 20, 2022, and was sentenced by Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Michael Greenlick to 18 months of probation, and is required to perform 85 hours of community service and 15 hours of cultural diversity and sensitivity education. Reeves previously had his Oregon law enforcement license revoked by the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). He currently resides in Montana.
“The public must have full trust and confidence in the integrity of law enforcement. So when a police officer breaches that trust—as Mr. Reeves did in this case by deliberately withholding information pertinent to conducting a fair and complete criminal investigation—it is essential that the officer be held accountable under our official misconduct laws,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “We are satisfied that the plea and sentence of this former law enforcement officer accomplishes this goal.”
In April 2021, Clackamas County District Attorney John Wentworth asked the Oregon DOJ’s Criminal Division to conduct a review of numerous prior investigations to determine whether any member of the West Linn Police Department had engaged in criminal misconduct in relation to the investigation and subsequent arrest of Mr. Fesser. In the highest profile of the multiple investigations, the FBI had declined to prosecute for any federal crimes.
During the investigation of Mr. Fesser, then-Sgt. Reeves texted frequently with Fesser’s boss, Eric Benson (owner of A&B Towing), who had requested the criminal investigation of his employee. The texts included racist and homophobic slurs, as well as other comments that cast significant doubt on the integrity of the investigation. Although that type of evidence is required to be disclosed to a defendant under state and federal law, Reeves acknowledged that he intentionally deleted the text messages he sent to and received from Benson.
DOJ investigators and prosecutors reviewed voluminous materials from the previous investigations of this matter, including investigations by the FBI, DPSST, the previous Clackamas County District Attorney, the West Linn Police Department, the Portland City Auditor, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, and civil litigants. The DOJ’s Criminal Division previously determined, after an extensive review, that no other state criminal charges would be filed.
In a statement after the conclusion of the criminal review, and the plea and sentencing in Reeves’ case, Attorney General Rosenblum spoke directly to the law enforcement community and said, “I am glad this matter is finally formally concluded. But It will be understandable if there are those in the Fesser family, Mr Fesser himself, or other impacted community members who feel dissatisfied. I sincerely hope this case will serve as a ‘wake-up call’ that we can and must do better as a society. There is simply no place in the law enforcement community for racism or race-based bias. Those thinking of becoming police officers who cannot set aside their biases simply should not enter this profession. Once they become sworn officers they will be held to account and will not be welcome to remain if they do not live up to this basic standard.”
AG Rosenblum thanked Criminal Justice Chief Counsel Michael Slauson and his investigative team for the many hours they devoted to this review, as well as DA Wentworth and Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt for entrusting this matter to them. She also thanked the many West Linn community members for their concern and persistence in ensuring this matter was thoroughly investigated and reviewed.