Grant County Sheriff Accused Of Helping Refuge Occupiers
By Bob Heye, KATU News Friday, February 19th 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. — Grant County’s sheriff is under state investigation after complaints about his conduct during the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
There were apparently concerns Sheriff Glenn Palmer might have been passing information to the occupiers during the standoff.
He was apparently kept out of the loop about plans for the traffic stop that led to the arrest of Ammon Bundy and several others, and the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum.
Now Palmer is facing more than half a dozen complaints – some from law enforcement agencies – about his actions during the standoff.
Palmer is outspoken about gun rights and is sympathetic to anti-government protesters. The sheriff’s office even posted a video clip featuring Palmer on its website.
“People are tired of the oppression from their government,” he says in the video. “And at some point it’s got to stop or we’re gonna have problems.”
But complaints, including one from the John Day 911 center and John Day’s chief of police to Oregon’s Department of Public Safety Standards and Training claim Palmer stepped over the line during the refuge standoff, helping keep the militia informed of law enforcement efforts to end the occupation.
“We received a number of complaints from residents of Grant County alleging misconduct, or potential misconduct, by Sheriff Palmer,” said Eriks Gabliks, spokesman for DPSST.
The DPSST replied to the complaints by saying its preliminary investigation shows Palmer’s actions “may violate the Board’s certification standards.” That means Palmer could be stripped of his state law enforcement credentials.
“They appear to be very serious and require that we look into them, and we’ve asked the Oregon Department of Justice to conduct the investigation on our behalf,” Gabliks said.
It wouldn’t be the first time the DPSST has taken action against a sheriff. In 2008, Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto resigned as the DPSST was wrapping up an investigation into alleged misconduct by Giusto.
Palmer declined KATU’s request for comment.
The DPSST said it is not clear how long the Oregon Department of Justice investigation into Palmer’s actions may take.