Note from the publisher, 6:14 pm: This story was originally posted described a situation wherein attendees at a ride on Sunday believed they were accompanied by a Portland Police officer named Chris Uehara. After seeing photos of the officer and learning other similarities, I posted a story describing the situation and included quotes from ride participants who believed the man to be Captain Uehara.
I have since heard from the Portland Police that the man on ride was not Capt. Uehara.
In addition, I have also now confirmed that the man was indeed not Capt. Uehara but was instead a man named Krisapon Chaisawat (here’s his Facebook profile). Chaisawat (who goes by Kris) is a 35-year-old food server who lives in Portland and works in West Linn. He called me after his wife saw his photos on this site. He said he’s from Key West, Florida and just moved to Portland a few months ago. Chaisawat does not speak very good English (he told me that several times I think as a way of explaining why he wasn’t more talkative at the event) but said he attended the event after hearing about it on BikePortland and just wanted to go on a ride and meet some people. About the story, he said, “I thought it was an April Fool’s joke.”
For what it’s worth, Chaisawat seemed very understanding of what happened and just wanted to clear things up. The Veloprovo folks feel bad about the error and have reached out to Kris with offers to connect, go on a ride, and/or buy him a drink or two.
I regret the misunderstanding. I went with my gut because I felt the story was worth publishing with the information I had. However, I published it without 100% confirmation about the man’s identity. That was a mistake. When I published it, I didn’t fully respect or appreciate how it might make people feel if I was wrong. For that I am deeply sorry.
As always, I have learned something from this situation and I will keep all of your feedback in mind and use it to inform my decisions going forward. Thank you for your understanding. – Jonathan
UPDATE, 4/3 9:45 am: Someone who was on the Veloprovo ride has posted their thoughts on this story: Radical Accountability vs. Security Culture: An Unconditional Apology for My Racism