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Investigation into Boise police chief sent to North Idaho county due to conflict of interest

The investigation report was sent to Clearwater Co. after ISP's investigation was reviewed by the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, which had a conflict of interest.

CLEARWATER COUNTY, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.

A county in North Idaho has an open investigation into the current Boise police chief, which comes after an Idaho State Police investigation from an alleged incident in October of last year.

A public records request sent by the Idaho Press on Thursday confirmed that the Clearwater County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating BPD Chief Ryan Lee in tandem with the Idaho State Police.

“My office has records pertaining to only one investigation regarding Chief Ryan Lee, which remains active and ongoing at this time,” the records request response said.

The investigation report was sent to Clearwater County after the ISP investigation was reviewed by the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, which had a conflict of interest with the investigation into Lee, said Ada County Prosecutor spokeswoman, Emily Lowe.

“We are working with ISP investigators out of Region six,” Clayne Tyler, the Clearwater County prosecutor, said in an email to the Idaho Press. 

RELATED: Boise police officer files claim against city regarding alleged incident with chief Ryan Lee

“Ada County, the city of Boise, and Region three ISP are not involved as investigators,” Tyler said.

It is unclear why the investigation was sent to Clearwater County as opposed to another county closer to the area. Clearwater County is nearly 310 miles away from Boise.

Lee was hired by Boise Mayor Lauren McLean in July of 2020 after spending nearly 20 years in the Portland Police Bureau in Oregon. He currently under investigation for allegedly injuring an officer during a team briefing.

BPD Sgt. Kirk Rush and his attorney filed a tort claim April 5, outlining how Lee allegedly grabbed Rush by the neck without warning to show officers an unconventional neck restraint, which the claim said broke parts of his neck, where he required sternum and neck surgery to repair.

The Idaho Press filed a public records request to the city of Portland, Oregon, on Thursday for records related to any excessive force issue by Lee and any allegations and complaints from other officers about excessive force from Lee when he was an officer for the PPB.

The city of Portland denied the request under the “personnel discipline” exemption in the Oregon state code, which says the records are exempt from disclosure due to, “a personnel discipline action, or materials or documents supporting that action.”

The response also denied the request due to a photograph of a public safety employee. The Oregon code the response cited says they may not disclose a photograph of a public safety employee without written consent.

The code also prevents disclosure of information about a personnel investigation of a public safety employee of the public body if the investigation does not result in discipline of the employee.

The city of Boise, as of April 22, has not put Lee on any type of administrative leave; the city's human resources handbook authorizes any city employee under investigation to be placed on administrative leave with pay.

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.

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