Former Oregon Candidate Facing Charge After Sending Racist Letter to Himself

July 8, 2020 Updated: July 8, 2020

Police officers in Oregon said an investigation into a racist letter concluded the man who reported the letter sent it to himself.

The printed screed included racist remarks and was meant to look as if it were written by a conservative.

Jonathan Lopez, a former Umatilla County commissioner candidate, reported the letter to police.

“Our investigation has shown that Mr. Lopez wrote the letter himself and made false statements to the police and on social media. The end result is a verbal and written admission by Mr. Lopez that the letter was fabricated,” Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said in a statement sent to The Epoch Times.

Lopez said in an interview that he regrets what he did.

“I do apologize for what I did I do understand and accept that it was incorrect or wrong, by no means or way did I want to gain the election,” Lopez told KEPR.

Lopez had posted the letter to Facebook. After the investigation, he deleted the post and his Facebook page.

Asked about his motivation, the man said: “I could say many reasons and of course everybody’s opinions could be different but I have no excuse for it. But I can just express how I was feeling and what’s been going on through my mind, and I’m not asking that that justifies what I did. I’ve just been having hard time since February.”

In another interview, Lopez claimed he didn’t mean to file a report, saying he created the letter to use as an example when talking to the police chief about supposed racism in the county.

Edmiston referred the matter to the county’s district attorney, recommending Lopez be charged for initiating a false report, a misdemeanor.

Police officers also sent the district attorney’s office information of potential election fraud, saying Lopez faked being in the military during his run for county commissioner. Voter fraud is a felony in Oregon.

The information, in conjunction with Lopez’s lengthy criminal history, may result in additional charges, Edmiston said.

“This investigation is particularly frustrating as we are in the midst of multiple major investigations while battling a resource shortage due to the current pandemic. The time spent on this fictitious claim means time lost on other matters, not to mention it needlessly adds to the incredible tension that exists in our nation today,” the chief said.

“As a lifelong resident of this diverse community, I’m disgusted someone would try to carelessly advance their personal ambitions at the risk of others.”

In a normal scenario, Lopez would have been arrested and charged, Edmiston told The Epoch Times. But because of medical reasons Lopez gave, the follow-up interview was conducted over the phone.

Reached on Wednesday, the Umatilla County District Attorney’s office couldn’t immediately say whether charges would be filed.

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