Oregon’s Umatilla County commissioner candidate Jonathan Lopez claimed to receive a “racist letter” last month.
The “hate hoax” has now been exposed as Lopez has now confessed to writing this letter himself.
Per SF Chronicle, 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.
East Oregonian reports a racist letter that recent Umatilla County commissioner candidate Jonathan Lopez claimed was left anonymously in his mailbox was written by Lopez himself, according to Lopez and Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston.
On Monday, July 6, Edmiston said in an email that Lopez had confessed that he wrote the letter. 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.
“From the onset, this alleged incident has been thoroughly investigated,” Edmiston wrote in an email. “Our investigation has shown that Mr. Lopez wrote the letter himself and made false statements to the police and on social media. The end result is a verbal and written admission by Mr. Lopez that the letter was fabricated.”
Lopez had previously posted a photo of a typed letter full of racist, homophobic and misogynist slurs to Facebook, stating that he had received the letter but that he had “no resentment for whomever wrote this.”
The letter, as shown in the photo, stated in part that Lopez and other “Mexicans” were “not welcome here” and that “America is for the God fearing, pro gun, pro life humans who refuse to be controlled by the government.”
Lopez initially stated that it was a big misunderstanding. He said he just meant to speak with Edmiston about racism in Umatilla County and use the letter as an example of the type of racism people experience, but often don’t speak out about publicly.
“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.
When questioned further about his statements on Facebook and the fact that he told an East Oregonian reporter on June 24 that he had found the letter in his mailbox when he got home, he confirmed that he had told a police officer the same story.
Lopez ran for a seat on the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners during the May 2020 primary and placed fourth. He is also a member of the city of Hermiston’s Hispanic Advisory Committee.