A table with Washington County Sheriff's Office memorabilia and information in Banks. File photo: Chas Hundley

WASHINGTON COUNTY - A Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been placed on administrative leave after an allegation surfaced that the deputy sent an “inappropriate email with racial epithets” before being employed by the Sheriff’s Office. 

The agency did not identify the contents of the email, nor did it name the deputy involved. 

According to a press release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the email is believed to be over 16 years and sent four years prior to the deputy’s hiring by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. 

The agency was first notified of the email on Sunday afternoon, according to the press release. 

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The matter is under internal investigation by the department’s Professional Standards Unit (PSU). 

“We understand and appreciate the community’s concern over such an allegation,” said Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett. “We are thankful it was brought to our attention, and we are committed to a thorough investigation and appropriate action.”

The news comes just four days after the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and other area law enforcement agencies released a joint statement addressing the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25. 

Floyd’s death has sparked protests and riots in cities across the U.S. as demonstrators decry police brutality against minority communities. 

“We stand together as law enforcement professionals in the Portland Metropolitan Area to condemn the tactics and actions demonstrated in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is our job to protect life and increase public safety within our communities. The incident in Minneapolis does not reflect our value of the sanctity of life or the code of ethics we have sworn to uphold. It is disheartening when the actions of so few tarnish the noble profession that we have dedicated our lives to. We are committed to maintaining and strengthening the trust of our communities who grant us the privilege to serve them,” the statement read in full.