Associated Press
Monday, July 6, 2020

HERMISTON, Ore. — A recent candidate for Umatilla County commissioner, who claimed he received an anonymous racist letter last month, admitted to police he was the one who wrote it, the East Oregonian reported.

Jonathan Lopez, who is Latino, said he had found a letter addressed to him which contained racist and derogatory slurs in his mailbox on June 23. He posted a photo of the typed letter to Facebook, which was shared hundreds of times within 24 hours. The post has since been removed.

However, when police followed-up with Lopez about the incident on July 3, authorities say Lopez confessed to writing the letter.

“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,” Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston told the newspaper

Edmiston said the case would be forwarded to the Umatilla County District Attorney’s office for review for initiating a false report, a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon.

Lopez lost a primary election for a seat on the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners in May 2020.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Lopez were not successful. He told the East Oregonian that he meant to speak with Edmiston about racism in Umatilla County and use the letter as an example of the type of racism people experience.

“I never meant to file a report, it just kind of spiraled out,” he said. He also said he “never meant to mislead” the public.

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