BEND, Ore. - Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said Friday he has charged a Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy with one count of harassment for allegedly grabbing another driver’s arm after a minor Christmas Eve crash in the parking lot of Bend’s Fred Meyer.
Deputy Bradley Wright, 40, who was off-duty at the time, also has been placed on paid leave, pending an internal investigation, according to Sheriff Shane Nelson.
Hummel said the charge arose from an incident on Dec. 24 at 1 p.m., after Wright was in a minor fender-bender crash with a 67-year old woman driving another car in the store’s parking lot.
The two drivers “got out of their cars to talk and to assess the damage,” Hummel said.
“During their interaction, it is alleged that Wright, without provocation, aggressively grabbed the arm of the other driver, causing bruising,” the DA said.
The DA's initial charging document, called an "information," alleges Wright "did intentionally harass or annoy" the woman by "subjecting (her) to offensive physical contact."
Hummel said, “The fact Wright is a Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy had no bearing on this charging decision. The Bend Police Department conducted a thorough and fair investigation, and I based my charging decision on the facts and the law.”
In Friday’s announcement of the charge, Nelson said, “I appreciate the thorough investigation by the Bend Police Department and I respect the criminal investigation as it moves forward.”
“I am troubled by the allegations,” Nelson added. “The Bend Police Department notified our office about the investigation and sheriff’s office command placed the deputy on administrative leave with pay. We are conducting an internal investigation into these allegations.”
Wright, a K-9 handler, has been with the agency for nearly seven years, having previously served for three years as a K-9 handler with the Crook County Sheriff's Office..
Anyone who was in the parking lot of the Bend Fred Meyer on Christmas Eve and witnessed the incident was urged to call the Bend Police Department’s non-emergency line at: 541-322-2960 option 3.
“Wright is presumed innocent” unless proven guilty, Hummel said. He has the opportunity to contest these allegations starting at his next court hearing on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 1:15 p.m.