Even if You Hate Heights and the French... You'll Like This
The Portland City Council this morning approved a $50,000 legal settlement for former Sergeant Kristy Galvan, whose complaints about her former supervisor, Captain Mark Kruger, touched off a long back and forth that wound up sacking Police Chief Mike Reese's one-time confidante and prompted the city's Independent Police Review office to conduct its first-ever independent misconduct probe of a police employee.
Galvan had been a probationary lieutenant when she first complained about harassment and sexist treatment while working under Kruger in late 2012 and early 2013. She has since left the bureau, a spokesman says, taking a "medical separation" this January. As part of the settlement, a city official said this morning, both Galvan and Kruger have agreed to drop concurrent legal claims against the city. (Although I'm still trying to confirm that.) Galvan, however, still has a complaint (pdf) pending with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries.
The scandal first went public after MIke Kuykendall, the bureau's civilian director of services, was caught sharing Nazi jokes with Galvan and resigned. (Kruger was disciplined years ago for an illegal shrine honoring Nazi-era German soldiers.) And it might have died several months later—until Kruger brought it back to life.
Kruger was cleared of Galvan's accusations—but he couldn't resist crowing about his good news. He posted his exoneration letter on his then-office door in East Precinct, with Galvan's name scrawled across the top in red marker. (The Oregonian first reported that.) Galvan got word of the letter's posting and filed a retaliation complaint with bureau brass. Who pretty much decided not to do anything about it.
According to a report exclusively detailed by the Mercury, Kruger told investigators that Reese's office met with city attorneys before anyone was questioned and decided Kruger's actions didn't amount to retaliation. Kruger was never questioned by the bureau, even though he was coached on how to answer informal questions by Central Precinct Commander Bob Day, a senior member of the police union for high-level command staff.
It took the IPR flexing its muscle, starting its own investigation last year, before anyone sufficiently aired Galvan's claim.
And city documents describing the settlement make clear why it's a good thing IPR has the power to do what it does.
Because of IPR's probe, Kruger was found guilty of retaliation by the city's bureau of human resources. It's unclear what discipline he might be facing. But if this case had been left to the bureau all by itself, Galvan might not have gotten her settlement. And Kruger almost certainly wouldn't have been found in violation of city rules.
Update 3:05 PM: The O spoke to Kruger's attorney and learned that Kruger will receive $5,000 through a settlement negotiated via an outside legal firm. And as part of that settlement, his police bureau file will see both the recent retaliation finding and discipline for the Nazi-era shrine stricken from his police record. They'll be replaced, instead, with a commendation from Chief Mike Reese. The retaliation claim will, however, remain on file with human resources.