HERMISTON — Former county commissioner candidate Jonathan Lopez issued an apology Wednesday, July 8, for his actions in claiming that a racist letter he wrote had been sent to him anonymously.
In a lengthy letter addressed to "esteemed Umatilla county commissioners, leaders, representatives, law enforcement, community members and all residents," he apologized for his actions and any hurt they caused.
"With the most deepest sincerity of what’s left of my heart and life. I would like to apologize for my wrongful doings," he wrote. "The letter written by me came from a dark low place. It should have never been written."
Lopez had previously posted a photo to social media of a letter full of racist, homophobic and misogynist slurs claiming that "Umatilla County" killed Latino people and dumped them in fields, and telling him there wasn't room for people like him in America. After he also reported the letter to the police, and investigation was opened, culminating in Lopez confessing on Friday, July 3, that he had written the letter himself.
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said the incident was being referred to the Umatilla County District Attorney's office for possible charges about filing a false report, a Class A misdemeanor.
In his apology letter, Lopez said the letter came from a "moment of weakness and desperation" as he prepared to talk with area leaders about racism. He described trying to suppress feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, bitterness and anger leading up to the incident and said he now accepts that he was "not suited or fit to be in public office or leadership."
He also apologized to his wife and to his church for the way his actions reflected on them.
"I know I am only but one man, but one man who can try and hope to come to a place of peace and compassion. I do with my most sincerity regret that letter and actions. I do encourage the community to work strongly and united to overcome the obstacles that are still ahead of all. To set aside all and any hard differences that are simply opinions and work to make solid solutions for the progression of all!" he wrote in conclusion.