The trooper was among three who entered Allan’s Coffee & Tea in Corvallis on Wednesday without wearing face coverings, according to The Oregonian, which obtained a video of the group entering the eatery.
Travis Boss, the assistant manager, said the trooper is a friendly regular.
“Hey, you gotta have your mask on,” he recalled saying on the same day Brown’s mask order went into effect and hours before she urged Oregonians to wear then as a “simple, common sense way to protect yourself and others.”
“Governor Brown has no authority to take our civil liberties. We aren’t going to wear masks,” the trooper allegedly told Boss, the outlet reported.
“He said, ‘F— Kate Brown,” Boss said. The video does not contain sound.
The three other troopers also refused to wear masks, but Boss said he served them anyway because they were in uniform. He added that he has sent other customers away earlier for not complying with the rule.
“He’s a state trooper, he’s in uniform,” Boss said. “He’s more or less saying, ‘This is how it’s going to be, and this is what I want.’”
Allan’s Coffee & Tea reported the incident to local police.
“The involved trooper has been placed on administrative leave,” state police spokesman Capt. Timothy Fox told The Oregonian in a statement.
“OSP is early in the investigation, but if found to be true, we are thoroughly disappointed and expect our troopers to follow the governor’s executive orders and be examples in the community,” he added.
Fox, who would not name the trooper, said all four are assigned to Oregon State University.
State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton reacted to the incident on Twitter.
“Not only are police officers expected to comply with the Governor’s emergency declaration orders, I expect them to set the example for Oregon’s residents as we strive to fight this invisible enemy- the Coronavirus,” Hampton wrote.
“This conduct is embarrassing and indefensible, especially in the wake of thousands of Oregonians taking to the streets each day to rightfully demand police accountability,” he continued.
“Like any police misconduct, the actions of a few bring discredit to the scores of dedicated officers that do not believe they are above the law they are sworn to uphold,” he said, as he offered his apology to the coffee shop workers and the community.
“I am ultimately responsible for all actions of OSP Troopers & should rightfully be accountable for their conduct. I hope my apology is accepted & the swift actions of my agency provide evidence of our commitment to accountability,” Hampton added.
In a statement Thursday, the governor said: “It is inexcusable that a few Oregon State Troopers disregarded my face covering requirement yesterday, and ignored a request from a fellow Oregonian to follow the rule.”
Brown added: “Oregon State Police Superintendent Hampton and I agree that their actions and behaviors were absolutely unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, store owners Robert and Kathryn Morgan – whose business brews a special “Oregon State Police blend” — said they respect the work of troopers and did not want the incident to turn political.
“We’re in this to follow the mandate, to try to get back to some form of normalcy somewhere down the road,” Robert told The Oregonian.