Oregon governor meets with troopers who refused to wear masks in coffee shop
'They took responsibility and expressed real regret for their actions,' said Governor Kate Brown
By Alex Hardgrave
PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown met Friday with three of the Oregon State Police officers who sparked outrage after they were seen on video not wearing masks in a Corvallis coffee shop earlier this week.
In sharing a photo of herself and the officers sitting down at Mahonia to discuss the issue, Brown said on Facebook that she is focused on saving lives, not firing people. The three officers can be seen wearing masks in the photo.
“They took responsibility and expressed real regret for their actions,” Brown said in the Facebook post. “And they pledged to do better.”
She wrote that Friday’s discussion led to officers agreeing with her that face coverings save lives, and that they will be wearing them now.
On July 1, the day that Brown’s mask order went into effect, the uniformed troopers entered Allan’s Coffee & Tea without wearing required face coverings, video obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive showed.
When the first trooper arrived, Allan’s Coffee & Tea assistant manager, Travis Boss, said he told them they needed to wear masks.
“Governor Brown has no authority to take our civil liberties. We aren’t going to wear masks,” the trooper said, according to a written statement from Boss provided to The Oregonian/Oregonlive.
Three other law enforcement officers entered the business soon after and also refused to wear masks. Boss said he felt compelled to fulfill their orders because they were in uniform.
The involved trooper was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, Capt. Timothy Fox said Thursday.
Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton addressed the issue Thursday morning on Twitter.
“Let me be clear, Oregon State Police Troopers are not above the law and this conduct is being immediately addressed,” Hampton wrote. “As the leader of the Oregon State Police, I would like to offer my apology to the coffee shop employees and the community.”