A Hood River police officer was indicted on several charges related to domestic violence in August, Columbia Gorge News has learned.
Hood River County Circuit Court documents show that a grand jury indicted senior police officer Michael Martin on 12 counts stemming from two incidents that occurred in March and August of this year.
Of those charges, one is a class C felony for strangulation. Additional charges include five counts of assault in the fourth degree, five counts of harassment, and one count of menacing.
Prosecutors from Clackamas County District Attorney’s office are handling the case, Hood River District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen said. Given that her office had worked with Martin on previous cases in his role as a police officer, Rasmussen said she asked Clackamas County to take on the case to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
The case will be heard through Hood River County Circuit Court, Clackamas County Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Owen said.
A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled, Owen said.
Martin, a veteran of the Hood River Police Department, joined the force in 1997. In 2010, he established a business offering firearms and weapons training, as well as self-defense courses.
The indictment document categorizes each strangulation and assault charge as “constituting domestic violence,” which if convicted, could result in additional consequences for the officer. Oregon and federal law prohibits certain convicted domestic violence perpetrators from possessing a firearm.
Defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Under Oregon sentencing guidelines, a Class C strangulation felony conviction can carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $125,000.
Martin’s attorney, Lisa A. Maxfield with Portland-based law firm Pacific Northwest Law, LLP, did not return a request for comment by press deadline.
Hood River Police Chief Neal Holste said Martin was arrested by Hood River County sheriff’s deputies Aug. 9 and placed on paid administrative leave the following day.
“At this time due to the allegations, he can’t work,” Holste said. Martin will remain on leave while the case is pending, he said.
At the already small police department that is struggling with staffing, Holste said the department has been working longer to fill the gap left by Martin’s absence.
“You have to augment shifts,” to be able to keep two officers to a patrol, he said. “We have a good group of men and women that are willing to participate.”