… and While We’re at “IT”… “Protesters”, If You Could Chill With The Fire Bombs… That Would Be Nice
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced Thursday that he is ordering the Police Bureau to immediately stop using one toxic form of tear gas on crowds at demonstrations.
The declaration that officers will no longer unleash CS gas comes after 105 straight days of protests that have seen city and federal officers deploy tear gas on participants. Over that time, people have also repeatedly been subjected to gas by Portland police in their cars or homes while not participating in the demonstrations.
Oregon State Police called Wheeler’s decision “reckless and short sighted,” and indicated it may stop sending troopers to help city officers respond to demonstrations.
Public records show Portland police have spent tens of thousands of dollars on less-lethal munitions and tear gas canisters in response to nightly protests.
The city has also been sued over police use of CS gas and there have been widespread calls for months from the public for the tactics to be discontinued, including from some of Wheeler’s Portland City Council colleagues Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.
Portland police have been restricted by a federal judge’s order since early Jun from using tear gas, except when lives or public safety are at risk.
Portland police went on to repeatedly use tear gas anyway, citing concerns over some protesters throwing water bottles, rocks, fireworks and other items toward officers.
Wheeler is also Portland’s police commissioner. He was subjected to tear gas himself by federal officers in July. He apologized to the public the next week over Portland’s police use of the gas noting it was indiscriminate, but vowed it would be used less rather than not at all.
“During the last hundred days Portland, Multnomah County and state police have all relied on CS gas where there is a threat to life safety,” Wheeler said in a video Thursday. “We need something different. We need it now.”
Oregon State Police Capt. Timothy Fox said in a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive that his agency still views tear gas as a viable tool to protect officers and the public. “The OSP will be forced to assess our involvement in assisting the city of Portland,” Fox said. “We will not for force our troopers into this untenable situation and limit their ability to defend themselves and others.”
Gov. Kate Brown, who directly oversees state police, sent troopers to help Portland police with nightly protests following the Aug. 29 fatal shooting of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a Patriot Prayer supporter, in downtown Portland. She also requested the Gresham Police Department and the sheriff’s offices in Clackamas and Washington counties to also assist city officers, but they publicly refused.
Wheeler’s office announced Wednesday that at least three Portland officers have been reassigned to desk duty amid investigations of their conduct during demonstrations. The group includes one officer seen on video tackling and repeated punching a protester in the head.
Read More at Oregon Live