Mayor of Idaho’s largest city launches police investigation

Police lights
Credit: Grant County Sheriff's Office

 

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The mayor of Idaho’s largest city has launched an investigation to determine if a police officer, whose ties to a white supremacist group became known after he retired, violated the rights of any residents during his 22 years with the agency.

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean launched the probe on Monday after The Idaho Statesman reported that former police Capt. Matthew Bryngelson appeared under a fake name on the speaker list for the American Renaissance Conference. The Southern Poverty Law Center says the conference draws Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.

McLean said the investigation will also look into whether Bryngelson or others used agency resources to “advance racist ideology.”

McLean announced the investigation on Monday when she addressed leaders and city officials during a bargaining meeting between the city and the Boise Police Department’s union. She said she expects the cooperation of the police and the union.

“For those in the Boise Police Department, if you cannot or will not cooperate fully and honestly, I suggest that now is the time to leave,” she said. “And honestly it’s the time to leave the profession because the people of Boise rely on you to protect and to serve them.”

The newspaper also reported that Bryngelson appeared to have written blog posts, under a pseudonym, about the time in his police career when he “became aware of the violent tendencies of Blacks.”

Bryngelson did not return phone or text messages from the newspaper.

The Boise Police Department on Monday released a statement promising to fully cooperate with the independent investigation.

“In light of recent revelations concerning a former member of BPD Command Staff, the Boise Police Department unequivocally states there is no room for racist ideologies, hatred, bigotry, or behaviors among members of the Boise Police Department, and we publicly condemn such in the strongest possible terms,” it said.

The department said that it has communicated with its members that it will take “swift action with anyone who may harbor similar sentiments.”

Boise Police Cpl. Denny Carter, a union member, said union leaders support the investigation. The union has about 240 officers and sergeants.

“We will wholeheartedly cooperate, and I think that you will find that the citizens of Boise, the trust that they have is earned minus this blemish from a former officer,” Carter said. “We support the mayor in her beliefs and going forward, and we want to denounce his actions — 100%.”