The Oregon State Police placed a trooper on administrative leave after he was caught on camera defying Democratic Governor Kate Brown’s statewide mask order in a Corvallis coffee shop that is located next to Oregon State University.
Surveillance footage shows the uniformed trooper walking into Allan’s Coffee & Tea on Wednesday morning without wearing a mask. As soon as he enters the establishment, the shop’s manager Travis Boss told him that he needed to wear a mask. “Governor Brown has no authority to take our civil liberties. We aren’t going to wear masks,” the trooper is said to have responded, according to the Oregonian. Boss added that after placing his order, the trooper said, “F*** Kate Brown.”
“He’s a state trooper, he’s in uniform,” Boss continued, explaining that the trooper is a regular with whom he has a good rapport. “He’s more or less saying, ‘This is how it’s going to be, and this is what I want.'”
Three more troopers then entered the coffee shop without masks and refused to put any on. They sat at a table with the first trooper, and stayed there for about ten minutes. Boss explained that he felt like he needed to carry out their orders because they were in uniform, even though he’d sent away patrons for not wearing masks earlier in the week.
Allan’s Coffee & Tea ended up reporting the incident to the police, and the Oregon State Police then launched an internal investigation. “The involved trooper has been placed on administrative leave,” OSP spokesman Capt. Timothy Fox said in a statement. “OSP is early in the investigation, but if found to be true, we are thoroughly disappointed and expect our troopers to follow the governor’s executive orders and be examples in the community.”
He added that all four uniformed officers in the video are state troopers assigned to Oregon State University, but he refused to name the trooper on leave. “Let me be clear, Oregon State Police Troopers are not above the law and this conduct is being immediately addressed,” Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton noted. “As the leader of the Oregon State Police, I would like to offer my apology to the coffee shop employees and the community.”
Governor Brown also spoke out to address the incident. “It is inexcusable that a few Oregon State Troopers disregarded my face covering requirement yesterday, and ignored a request from a fellow Oregonian to follow the rule,” Brown said Thursday. “Oregon State Police Superintendent Hampton and I agree that their actions and behaviors were absolutely unacceptable.”