PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) — Portland Mayor Charlie Hales has removed Police Chief Larry O'Dea from duty over allegations that O'Dea lied to investigators about shooting a friend on an April hunting trip at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge was also the site of a 41-day armed takeover by antigovernment protesters earlier this year.
O'Dea initially said he was hunting with a friend at the refuge in Harney County on April 21 when the friend suffered a self-inflicted accidental gunshot wound. But a local sheriff's investigation later found that O'Dea had accidently shot his friend, and lied to the responding officer.
According to a Harney County sheriff's incident report, O'Dea appeared to be drunk and nervous when speaking about the shooting.
"Note: During the interview I noted that I could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath, glassy, watery and bloodshot eyes. I also noted that Mr. O'Dea was visibly nervous and shaking during the interview. Prior to the interview I noticed Mr. O'Dea consume a bottle of water and during the interview he also consumed another bottle of water," the report says.
The Oregon Department of Justice, the Portland police and the Independent Police Review, a civilian organization, have all opened investigations into the incident.
Hales placed O'Dea on administrative leave Tuesday pending the outcome of the investigations.
"We need our police bureau operating at its best, and our officers can't do that when there's turmoil and confusion surrounding their leader," Hales said in a statement.
"Chief O'Dea has been providing excellent service as our police chief, and now needs to focus on these investigations. He and I agree that going on administrative leave during these open investigations is in the best interest of the bureau and the city."
Assistant Chief Donna Henderson will act as chief while O'Dea is on leave.
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