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Officer who made wrongful arrest no longer with Ashland police

I remember an incident a couple years back where Ashland police arrested the wrong person on the street because of his race. What ever happened with that? Is he still with Ashland police?

— No name given

The police officer who arrested an uninvolved man in the middle of the day because he fit a witness’ vague description of being Black and wearing a sweatshirt in November 2018 has since parted ways with Ashland police.

According to an Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training professional standards database, former Ashland Officer Brett Bibby “separated from employment” with the police department, sparking a routine moral fitness investigation Dec. 29, 2020.

For those just tuning in, Bibby arrested an uninvolved 20-year-old man the afternoon of Nov. 26, 2018, because the man fit the vague witness description of “an African American male wearing a dark sweatshirt,” according to an earlier news report.

Bibby was among other Ashland officers responding to reports of a subject fitting that description who created a disturbance at a store along Siskiyou Boulevard.

The person Bibby arrested, however, in no way looked like the person captured on store surveillance video. Because Bibby and other Ashland officers involved failed to check the surveillance video, the innocent man spent 10 hours in jail overnight.

In the days that followed, an apologetic and embarrassed Ashland police Chief Tighe O’Meara said the man “should have never seen the inside of a police car.”

The exact reason for Bibby’s departure was not immediately available.

Bibby was hired as a police officer Nov. 1, 2016, and resigned at the same rank Dec. 16, 2020, according to the state.

The still-pending DPSST investigation will determine whether he will be able to work for another law enforcement agency in Oregon.

Among reasons why the state law enforcement training agency opens professional standards case investigations are “nonvoluntary separation from employment, or a separation while an officer was under investigation,” according to the DPSST.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.