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Investigation Leads to Plea for Official Misconduct

October 26, 2007 00:00



On Friday, October 26, 2007, Matthew Kohnke, a 33-year-old, 9-year member of the Police Bureau, pled guilty to Official Misconduct and resigned from the Police Bureau as the result of a criminal investigation that began earlier this year. On June 25, 2007, an East Precinct sergeant contacted a 27-year-old woman who wanted to complain about the conduct of an officer who stopped her the day before. The woman stated that she had been searched by other officers on numerous prior occasions and on this occasion the officer made statements and conducted himself in a way she believed was unprofessional. The conduct described by the woman did not include sexual contact. The woman did not know the name of the officer and provided the sergeant with a time for the contact that was later found to be incorrect.

The sergeant documented the woman’s complaint and notified his Command Staff, the Chief’s Office, and the Detective Division. The sergeant also gave the woman contact information for Independent Police Review. Less than 72 hours after the Police Bureau received the complaint, two detectives were assigned to conduct the investigation. The detectives spent the next several days attempting to locate the woman who lived a transient lifestyle. Their only point of contact was a residence whose occupants were openly hostile to the detectives. On July 6, 2007, the detectives finally located the woman. The initial investigation required several additional interviews because the woman could not initially identify the officer. After showing the woman the photo’s of numerous officers and repeated interviews, detectives finally identified Matthew Kohnke as the person involved in the contact. After identifying Kohnke the detectives determined the actual time and location of the contact.

While detectives were conducting the initial portions of the investigation, Mathew Kohnke was on vacation. During that time, detectives located a second person who described similar and potentially illegal contact with Kohnke. When Kohnke returned from vacation, the Police Bureau placed him in the Telephone Report Unit to prevent him from having any additional contact with citizens. Within a few days, the investigation progressed to the point that the Police Bureau placed Kohnke on paid administrative leave. (MORE) During the investigation, detectives identified five women who may have information essential to the investigation. Four of the five women lived transient life styles and detectives were only able to locate four of the women. Of the four women detectives interviewed, all but one had their contact with Kohnke prior to June 25, 2007. The last had contact sometime between July 3rd and July 5th 2007. None of the contact included allegations of sexual contact.

From the time the Police Bureau received the information to the time the investigation was forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution, the detectives involved were directed to focus on this investigation as their main priority. Detectives found no information to suggest that any other officer was aware of or condoned any of Kohnke’s conduct.

The Portland Police Bureau wants to remind citizens that they should always report any perceived misconduct to the Independent Police Review Division at (503) 823-0146



Media Relations:
Sgt. Pete Simpson
Desk: 503-823-0830
Pager: 503-790-1779

Portland Police Bureau
1111 SW 2nd Ave, Suite 1526
Portland, Oregon 97204



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