A former commissioner candidate for Umatilla County, Oregon, admitted to police that he wrote a racist letter to himself that he had claimed was left in his mailbox, the
East Oregonian reported.
What are the details?
The outlet said Jonathan Lopez previously posted a photo of the typed letter to Facebook, stating he’d received the letter but held “no resentment for whomever wrote this.”
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said Jonathan Lopez, a recent candidate for Umatilla County commissioner, has… https://t.co/Jdu0VWuAUq
— East Oregonian (@East Oregonian)1594066811.0
The letter — which he said he found June 23 — begins with “Mr. Lopez” and follows with racist statements such as, “Don’t waste your time trying to become anything in this county we will make sure you never win and your family suffers along with all the other f****** Mexicans in the area!” KEPR-TV reported.
The East Oregonian said the letter also contained homophobic and misogynist slurs. There were also subtle threats, such as “Umatilla County kills [redacted] like you and are dumped in the fields and river. That’s why our crops are the best!” The letter was signed, “Sincerely, America!”
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston on Monday told the outlet that Lopez confessed verbally and in writing to writing the letter. Edmiston added to the East Oregonian that the case would be forwarded to the Umatilla County district attorney’s office for initiating a false report — a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon.
Edmiston told KEPR police had been conducting a criminal investigation for intimidation in the second degree until Lopez admitted to fabricating the letter.
“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 chief told the East Oregonian. “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. 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.”
More from the outlet:
Edmiston said his department was also forwarding information to the district attorney’s office about possibly fraudulent statements in Lopez’s entry in the May 2020 voter’s guide about his background and education. Those claims were also reported in the East Oregonian leading up to the election.
Edmiston also alleged that HPD has learned that Lopez never served in the U.S. Coast Guard as stated, which would be a violation of the 2013 Stolen Valor Act. Lopez has not provided documentation to the East Oregonian to confirm his claim of Coast Guard service when asked.
Lopez ran for a seat on the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners during the May 2020 primary and placed fourth, the East Oregonian said, adding that he’s also a member of the city of Hermiston’s Hispanic Advisory Committee.
Lopez has removed his public Facebook profile, KEPR reported. His website, lopez4umatillaco.com, also was down Wednesday.
As TheBlaze has extensively reported, hoaxes perpetrated to draw attention to social issues aren’t uncommon. In June a black man was charged with tagging the campus of Salisbury University in Maryland with racist graffiti five times between last October and February of this year, which authorities characterized as a “hate crime.” Here’s a look at 20 recent hate crime hoaxes.