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Portland Police Tell Citizens to "Do As We Say, Not As We Do"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The Portland Mercury's Matt Davis reports that "[a] citizen who watched a cop illegally park, then walk into a Chinese restaurant to wait for his food, has issued the officer a series of citizen-initiated parking violations." Apparently, Chad Stensgaard
walked into the restaurant wearing his police uniform, but did not make any arrests or citations. Instead, he turned his attention to the basketball game on television, according to [Eric] Bryant. When Bryant asked Stensgaard about his vehicle, Stensgaard allegedly acknowledged being in a no-parking zone but asked Bryant, "If someone broke into your house, would you rather have the police be able to park in front of your house or have to park three blocks away and walk there?"
Bryant, an Oregonian lawyer, maintains that "[c]itizens should be concerned that he used his status as an officer of the law as justification for breaking the law" despite the police department's insistence that certain laws don't really pertain to officers of the law.

Brian Martinek, the assistant Police Chief of the Portland Police Department, maintains that "from what I know, um, I think the officer did what he was supposed to do" by parking in a clearly-marked no parking zone. In an interview with KGW-TV's Dave Northfield (available via CNN), a visibly amused Martinek dismisses the suit, claiming that "[h]e did look around for a parking spot."

Smirking, the Assistant Chief of Police continues, "I think asking an officer to spend a, uh, uh, uh, inordinate amount of time trying to find a, uh, 'legal' parking space, um, that may be a long ways away from where they're going is, is (sic) unreasonable." Viewers might find the finger quotes the scoffing Chief places around the word "legal" amusing, in the most ironic of senses.

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