Phone scam tries to get ’donations’ for police officer
The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety is warning about scam phone calls seeking donations for an officer who was allegedly kicked in the face at the Boatnik carnival.
The phone calls were made without the knowledge or approval of the department or the officer, officials said.
“Neither GPDPS nor the Grants Pass Police Association would ever call citizens asking for monetary donations,” the public safety department said in a press release. “Please be aware persons calling claiming to be operating on behalf of GPDPS or the officer are not legitimate.”
Police said anyone who did provide money to a caller regarding the officer should call the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety at 541-450-6260 and file a police report.
Nathaniel Paul Wytcherley, 53, has been charged with second-degree assault, assaulting a public safety officer and resisting arrest after he allegedly kicked Officer Lexi Pittman in the face May 28 with a large, heavy work boot, according to a probable cause affidavit and Josephine County Circuit Court records.
Pittman was engaged in a scuffle with an intoxicated female juvenile that took them both to the ground in the moments prior to being kicked, according to court documents and an earlier news report.
Pittman lost consciousness for about 10-20 seconds, fell down, could not walk , and had trouble talking and recalling what occurred. She suffered injury to her face, jaw and mouth, the probable cause affidavit said.
The suspect fled, was tackled by officers and fought to get away, the affidavit said.
Wytcherley is an unemployed homeless man who was convicted in 2020 of two counts of assaulting a public safety officer for physically injuring two officers in Douglas County. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation, according to court documents.
The alleged assault at the Boatnik carnival in Grants Pass was reported by local media, as well as The Oregonian and news outlets at least as far away as New York.
“We urge anyone who gets an unsolicited call for a charitable donation to always verify the organization and its legitimacy,” the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said. “Unfortunately, persons committing fraud will sometimes pose as a charity in order to take your money. Legitimate organizations should offer alternative ways to make a donation other than a phone call.”