I am writing this letter because of the events in Ferguson, Missouri. I spent 25 years as a police officer in Portland, retiring one year ago. I am concerned about the racial aspect of this case. Let me tell you about some events I was involved in as an officer.

I have stopped vehicles for traffic violations where I didn’t know if the driver were white, black, male or female until I walked up to the window. At times the driver would be black and immediately say that I stopped him because he was black. Or sometimes the comment would wait until I summonsed the driver and I was now summonsing him because he was black. Never mind that I regularly summonsed many white people for the same offense.

I was involved in the David Okot case where we allegedly assaulted him. David exaggerated what we did to detain him.

One week later, over 100 people related to the NAACP were protesting our actions, calling us racists. It was disgusting that they believed David or just didn’t care about the truth. A federal jury did rule that we used a small degree of excessive force, awarding David one dollar.

David was shot and killed by police in 2009 while pointing a gun at them. There was no racism by the police here as alleged.

I was involved in the mob scene on Fox Street when officers stopped a car and arrested the black driver for stealing alcohol from Hannaford.


A crowd of about 20 black teens came over and immediately said we were arresting him because he was black. The crowd became physically involved with the arrest and we had to arrest five people from the crowd. We have arrested many white people for stealing from Hannaford.

Ferguson is about an officer defending himself, nothing more.

John Morin


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