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Peacekeepers Call for Suspension of Sergeant Cindy Ksenzulak and Officer Leah Boileau.

The Central Oregon Peacekeepers are calling for the immediate suspension and investigation of Sergeant Cindy Ksenzulak and Officer Leah Boileau at the Bend Police Department. We have been made aware of an appalling and blatant disparity in how these two officers treat suspects based on race.

As our readers may recall, the Peacekeepers wrote a piece back in July about a protester who was attacked in downtown Bend. On July 11, two men physically attacked a man, knocked him off his bicycle, and one of these two men drew a loaded firearm and pointed it at the victim. Sergeant Kzenzulak and Officer Boileau were called to that scene, and ultimately the Bend Police Department (citing COVID restrictions at the County jail) chose not to detain the attackers. These two white men who assaulted a protester and pulled a gun on him were cited on scene, and released.

Yesterday, the same two officers responded when a bus driver for Cascade East Transit called because a young Black man tried to board a bus without wearing shoes. The driver told the rider to get off the bus, so the young man put on socks and asked if that was good enough. Apparently it was not, because the driver ultimately put this young Black man in a choke hold and dragged him off the bus. We have been told that the young man did have a belt knife on his hip, but that it was never drawn from it’s sheath. The only violence was perpetrated against this young man, and none of it by him. Witnesses said that the young man was cooperative and did not resist the police in any way.

Sergeant Kzenzulak and Officer Boileau charged that young man with a class C felony.

“Unlawful use of a weapon” is specifically listed as one of the charges for which a person can be booked into the Deschutes County Adult Jail during the COVID pandemic. According to the Oregon Supreme Court, this charge is reserved for a person who “possesses a weapon with the intent to ‘use’ the weapon by actually employing it to injure another” or “when a person carries or possesses a weapon with intent to ‘use’ it to threaten or menace another unlawfully.”

These two officers went out of their way to avoid the felony charge of “Unlawful Use” for two white men who knocked somebody to the ground and shoved a gun in his face. But they reached for that charge when a young Black man got dragged off a bus by his throat for not wearing shoes, because he happened to have a knife on his belt at the time.

This is outrageous and unacceptable. The Peacekeepers are calling for both officers and the bus driver to be suspended without pay, pending an investigation.

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