Details emerge about incident that took place while Adam Rahmlow served in ASPSU
ASPSU president-elect Adam Rahmlow was arrested outside of the Dixie Tavern last summer, according to Portland Police Bureau reports. He was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, interfering with a peace officer, resisting arrest and attempted assault of a police officer.
A jury convicted Rahmlow of one count of resisting arrest, for which he served a sentence of three days in Multnomah County Jail. He was acquitted of all other charges.
“If you have a really good lawyer, you can work the system and get out of things OK,” Rahmlow said.
Among the charges that Rahmlow was acquitted of was the attempted assault of a police officer. The Portland Police Bureau alleged that Rahmlow head-butted a female officer in the course of resisting arrest.
“The head-butting never occurred, per jury decision,” Rahmlow said.
Rahmlow was initially reluctant to speak about the incident.
“It’s a personal story,” he said.
The ASPSU president-elect eventually agreed to be interviewed, as reported in an online exclusive news story published by the Vanguard on Wednesday, May 18.
The Vanguard learned of Rahmlow’s misdemeanor after online comments were posted in response to coverage of ASPSU election results. Election results were delayed for one week while Election Board members addressed 21 separate campaign infractions lodged against Rahmlow and vice-presidential candidate Pierce Whitehead.
According to E-board member Jake Fenske, the majority of the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. On Wednesday, May 4, it was announced that Rahmlow and Whitehead won the election.
Rahmlow’s arrest took place on August 7, 2010, while the then-22-year-old served as a member of the Student Senate. According to Rahmlow, the incident began as an altercation between himself and a Dixie Tavern bouncer.
“The police weren’t called, they were waiting outside of the Dixie Tavern,” Rahmlow said. “They saw a bouncer pushing me out, and me sort of struggling with the bouncer. It was just a bunch of confusion.”
Rahmlow said that he and some friends were celebrating a rare visit from his cousin, who had been away with the Peace Corps.
“The night started off with happy hour at 6 [p.m.], with my aunt and cousin,” Rahmlow said, adding that they were later joined by his roommate and two friends about to leave the country for military service.
“It was kind of a celebratory atmosphere,” Rahmlow said. “My roommate fell down, which I’m pretty sure is why the bouncers asked me to leave. Right before I got to the doors I told the bouncers I wanted to real quick talk to my friends. The bouncer grabbed me, and I got kind of defensive.”
Rahmlow said that he reacted poorly, due in part to his inebriation.
“We’d been out since 6, and the incident occurred at 10 or 11. I’d had five or six drinks, so I was a little buzzed, but it was also a loud and confusing atmosphere,” he said.
Current ASPSU President Katie Markey said a press conference will be held at noon on Monday, May 23, where Rahmlow will address the issue.
“I think it’s great to see this kind of transparency,” Markey said. “I think this will allow Adam to show that he may have made a mistake, but he can move past it and do a lot of good work.”
A room has not yet been secured for the press conference, which Markey said she and Rahmlow scheduled at a meeting that convened only five minutes after the Vanguard notified the ASPSU president-elect of its intent to publish a story on the incident.
Rahmlow has said that he will use the press conference to address questions and provide the opportunity to view documents from his arrest and trial.
“I think students have a right to know,” Rahmlow said, before explaining his decision not to inform students during the ASPSU presidential campaign.
“Well, I’m not going to go ahead and advertise the darkest chapter of my history. I’m not going to go out and advertise the one thing that doesn’t define me. I don’t have a personal relationship with the voters, but I’d like to build one. I think it would have been counterproductive,” he said.
When asked whether he believed he would have won the election had voters known about the incident, Rhamlow said he was not sure.
“I can’t tell,” Rahmlow said. “It’s impossible to answer.”