Letter to Eric King and Mike Krantz. Investigate Cindy Ksenzulak and Leah Boileau.
Dear Mr. King and Mr. Krantz, As you both know, it has been two weeks since the arrest of the young Black Bend citizen who was attacked on a CET bus, and almost as long since Chief Krantz called me on August 22 to tell me he would “look into” the case. I’ve not heard back from the Chief, and I’m writing today to reiterate that it is not a “looking into” that I and the community I represent are asking for. We are asking for a fair, impartial, and independent investigation.
The following are all facts: - Sergeant Cindy Ksenzulak and Officer Leah Boileau responded to a call on July 11 when two white men attacked a peaceful protester, knocked him to the ground, and threatened him with a firearm. The officers cited these men with misdemeanor charges and released them. Neither were handcuffed. Neither were taken to the Deschutes County Adult Jail. - The same two officers responded to a call on August 20. A white bus driver (Michael Lee Brinster) attacked a Black man for not wearing shoes and choked him unconscious. Your officers not only failed to arrest Brinster...they arrested the victim and charged him with a felony.
- The Bend Police “flash alert” for the July 11 case specified that the victim had been injured and suffered lacerations. It also gave the victim’s name several times, causing him to fear for his safety.
- The Bend Police “flash alert” for the August 20 case specified there had been NO injury. The young Black man’s name was given, but the bus driver (Brinster) was left anonymous. As I’ve said to you before, EVEN IF that young Black man had been guilty (and he is not, as we’ve discovered from the video) then your officers still treated him far more harshly than they did two white men for an objectively worse crime. When two white men assaulted someone (causing injury and property damage) and threatened the victim with a loaded gun, your officers cited them and released them with misdemeanor charges. But when the same officers responded to a case without injury or damage of any kind...they charged a young Black man with a felony and took him away to the County jail. A felony charge can ruin a person’s life. Your two officers casually handed that felony charge to a young man they believed lacked the power to fight back. He was the victim, and your two officers casually attempted to destroy his life.
Additionally, the Bend Police Department is demonstrating a dangerous disregard for the safety of Bend citizens. The victim of a bias crime had his name published by this department, causing him to fear retaliation from those who had attacked him. A month later, BPD decided to withhold the name of a driver who had attempted to strangle a Black man. Gentleman, I do not want another phone call. I do not want either of you to “look into it.” I want you both to have the courage to respond to me today, in writing, that you are going to suspend these two officers and open a fair, independent investigation into their behavior. And not only for these two cases. ALL of their arrests need to be reviewed to determine how many other times they may have treated a victim like a criminal because of the color of their skin, or shown leniency to violent criminals because their skin is white. Do the right thing.
President, Central Oregon Peacekeepers