On June 24th, local media outlets in Oregon ran with a story from Jonathan Lopez – who recently ran for public office – that claimed he had received a racist letter. Lopez posted the alleged letter on his Facebook account where it was shared by hundreds within the first 24 hours. The post has since been removed.
KEPR is one of the outlets that reported Lopez’s claim.
“We now more than ever must address these issues that are destroying and distancing us from unification,” Lopez wrote on Facebook. “We must be mature and adults about things and address them properly at a table or meeting in which we can come to an agreement or mutual understanding!”
“I hold no resentment for whom ever wrote this; I’m just simply heart broken for the lack of knowledge, education and respect missing. I pray for you and wish you prosperity in your life. God bless us all!” he concluded.
The letter Lopez claimed he received read, in part: “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!” The letter ends by stating, “Sincerely, America!”
Lopez previously ran for a commissioner seat in Umatilla County but lost in the primary. He reported the letter to Hermiston Police, who investigated Lopez’s claims and determined that, yet again, someone who publicly claimed to be the victim of a hate crime was not, in fact, a victim.
KEPR-TV News reported Tuesday that police determined Lopez sent the letter to himself and that Lopez verbally and in a written statement admitted to fabricating the letter.
Lopez’s case has been referred to the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office to charge the former politician with filing a false police report, which is just a Class A misdemeanor in the state.
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston told KEPR that Lopez’s actions added tension to a country currently dealing with racial protests.
“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.” Edmiston 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.”
Lopez’s legal troubles, however, are far from over.
In addition to the misdemeanor, Lopez is now under investigation for potential election fraud related to the Stolen Valor Act of 2013. KEPR reported Lopez may have presented false credentials while running for county commissioner.
“Additionally, the Hermiston Police are sending the Office of the District Attorney verifiable information of potential election fraud as it pertains to the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 and other false credentials presented by Mr. Lopez during his run for county commissioner. This in conjunction with a lengthy criminal history record may result in the filing of additional charges,” the outlet reported.