East Precinct ‘cop spies’ arrested

Find out why one of these well-armed ‘lurkers’ is still in jail …

As police come to report for their shifts in the outer East Portland districts at East Precinct, groups and individuals have been taking pictures and videos as they come and go.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Beginning in April, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers began noticing a man in a gray Chevrolet Tahoe, parked outside the precinct building on SE 106th Avenue, across from Floyd Light Middle School.

Officers observed that the man had been taking photos and videos of officers as they entered and left the building during shift changes. “In one traffic stop, officers saw that the man had a police scanner in his vehicle, and that the man referred to himself as a [self-proclaimed] ‘Constitutionalist’,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Four months after they first noticed 39-year-old Eric Eugene Crowl “observing” police at the precinct, he continued to spy on officers as they came and went. MCDC booking photo

The man, identified as 39-year-old Eric Eugene Crowl, was again conducting “surveillance” just before 3:00 p.m. on August 7.

“An East Precinct sergeant observed that Crowl was parked across the street from the precinct again, so the sergeant requested, via police radio, that Crowl be contacted by on-duty officers,” Simpson said.

“As soon as the radio transmission was broadcast, Crowl drove away from the precinct – behavior consistent with someone who is monitoring a police frequency – and was stopped by officers for his having made a traffic violation, shortly after leaving the area of the precinct,” Simpson added.

Police stop Crowl after returns to his observation post – and are shocked to see what he has in his car.

Approximately 9:30 p.m., Crowl returned to East Precinct and appeared to be conducting surveillance of the building near shift change.

“Due to heightened concerns about police ambush attacks after the recent incidents in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, officers contacted Crowl, concerned about his actions,” Simpson reported. “As officers approached Crowl, ordering him to keep his hands up, he would raise and lower his hands, and appeared to be reaching around inside his vehicle.”

Patting him down for weapons, officers found none on Crowl.

“But, officers looked through the rear window of the Tahoe observed an arsenal of weapons and ammunition,” Simpson revealed.

This is the “arsenal of weapons and ammunition” police found in the back of Crowl’s vehicle. PPB image

Items seized in the Tahoe included:

  • 5.56 rifle
  • 12 gauge shotgun
  • 9 mm handguns (2)
  • 100 round 5.56 magazine drum (loaded)
  • Hundreds of 5.56 and 9mm rounds of ammunition
  • 5.56 tracer rounds
  • Handheld radios
  • Police scanner
  • Camouflage clothing
  • Various camping gear including sleeping bag, food, camping stove, and lantern.

East Precinct officers called for the Portland Police Bureau’s Gun Task Force to assist with the investigation. Gun Task Force officers, working closely with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, prepared a search warrant for Crowl’s residence in the Powellhurst Gilbert neighborhood, at 14745 SE Rhone Street.

At Crowl’s Powellhurst-Gilbert residence, now featuring numerous “No Trespassing” signs in the yard, police find an additional cache of guns and ammunition.

Search warrant in hand, members of the PPB Special Emergency Reaction Team investigators searched the house Crowl was renting, and seized eight additional rifles, a shotgun, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Crowl was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on August 8 at 9:31 p.m. on charges of Attempted Assault of a Public Safety Officer, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.

At his arraignment on August 9 in Multnomah County Court, Crowl’s combined bail was set at $1,005,000; and he was transferred to Inverness Jail, in lieu of bail.

A group of “police observers” gather at the roll-up garage doors at East Precinct.

Later on August 9, a small group of new “observers” showed up at East Precinct, filming officers as they entered the garage for shift change.

Two individuals, 51-year-old Robert Lee West and 38-year-old Sarabeth Rachel Long, refused to leave the driveway.

“Officers informed the group that they were free to film as much as they like but could not block access to the garage, and that if they continued to do so they may face arrest,” Simpson said.

“While others followed the advice of the officers, West and Long did not, and continued to block the driveway, and were subsequently arrested,” commented Simpson.

After refusing to leave the precinct’s driveway, 51-year-old Robert Lee West is arrested.

At 11:04 p.m. that evening, West was booked into MCDC on a charge of Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree. After his arraignment on August 10, West was “Released on Own Recognizance”.

38-year-old Sarabeth Rachel Long is arrested and taking to jail for refusing to step out of the precinct driveway, and cited for driving without an operator’s license.

Long was booked into MCDC at 11:57 p.m. the evening of her arrest on four charges of Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, and after arraignment on August 10, and was “Released on Own Recognizance”.

Long was also issued traffic citations for Driving While Suspended and Failure to Present Proof of Insurance; her vehicle was towed from the scene as a traffic hazard.

Restating, Simpson said, “Filming officers, or any member of the public, is not a crime as long as the person filming is not committing a crime to do so, such as blocking a driveway, trespassing, or engaged in other criminal activity.”

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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