Oregon deputy placed on leave after suggesting left-wing activists set wildfires

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The charred remains of the Gates Elementary School, which was being used as a staging ground by firefighters, are seen after the passage of the Santiam Fire in Gates, Oregon, on Sept. 10, 2020. (Kathryn Elsesser / AFP / Getty Images)

The charred remains of the Gates Elementary School, which was being used as a staging ground by firefighters, are seen after the passage of the Santiam Fire in Gates, Oregon, on Sept. 10, 2020. (Kathryn Elsesser / AFP / Getty Images)

A sheriff’s deputy in Oregon has been placed on leave after a video surfaced in which he suggested left-wing activists had been “causing hell” in setting wildfires — a claim that has been debunked by the FBI.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said he placed the deputy on leave after learning of the video, which recorded the deputy referring to “antifa” and saying that people’s lives and property were at stake because “these guys got some vendetta.”

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies in the Northwest say they have investigated such reports and found them false.

The deputy’s identity was not immediately released.

The sheriff said he would be on leave pending an investigation of making inappropriate comments and violating policy.

Authorities say having to debunk conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away from local fire and police agencies working to fight the fires and protect lives.

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