Hermiston man, a former political candidate, admits to writing racist letter himself

Racist letter mailbox

HERMISTON, Ore. — Hermiston police say a former Umatilla County political candidate admitted to writing a racist and threatening letter that he claimed had been left in his mailbox.

Police say Jonathan Lopez is facing criminal charges for allegedly initiating a false report, a class A misdemeanor. He recently lost a race for a seat on the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners.

Lopez, a Mexican-American citizen, claimed that he received the letter on June 23 and posted a photo of it on his public Facebook page.

RELATED: Hermiston man responds to racist, threatening and extremely vulgar letter left in mailbox

The letter said things like “go back to your worthless country” and “Umatilla County kills [racial slur] like you and are dumped in the fields and river.”

One part said, “Don’t waste your time trying to become anything in this county we will make sure you never win and your family suffers along with all the ****ing Mexicans in the area.”

Lopez posted a response to the purported threat in which he claimed that he was proud of his heritage and his Christian upbringing.

He said he was “disgusted” by the letter, calling it an “act of cowardliness.” He later posted a video thanking the many people who reached out to him about the post for their support.

But on Monday, July 6, Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston confirmed that Lopez gave both verbal and written confessions that the letter was fabricated.

Edmiston also said police found evidence of “potential election fraud as it pertains to the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 and other false credentials presented by Mr. Lopez during his run for county commissioner.” This may result in additional criminal charges against Lopez.

“This investigation is particularly frustrating as we are in the midst of multiple major investigations while battling a resource shortage due to the current pandemic. The time spent on this fictitious claim means time lost on other matters, not to mention it needlessly adds to the incredible tension that exists in our nation today,” Edmiston said. “As a lifelong resident of this diverse community, I’m disgusted someone would try to carelessly advance their personal ambitions at the risk of others.”