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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Arbitrator Rules Fired Oregon DOJ Investigator Must Be Reinstated

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M.O. Stevens
/
Wikimedia tinyurl.com/y8ljdott
File photo of the Oregon Department of Justice's main office in Salem.

An investigator for the Oregon Department of Justice is getting his job back after a state arbitrator ruled the agency was wrong to fire him.

It all started when Jim Williams started searching social media for posts using hashtags associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Williams interpreted some of the posts as a possible threat to police and opened a file on the person who posted them.

That person was Erious Johnson—who happens to be the top civil rights attorney at the Oregon Department of Justice. He’s also one of the few African American attorneys in the department.

After an investigation, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum fired Williams, saying he engaged in racial profiling.

Now, an arbitrator said the agency was wrong to let Williams go and ordered him reinstated with back pay.

In a statement, Rosenblum said she was "disappointed" with the ruling.