(Portland, OR, 8/8/18) A group of Portland-based community organizations today joined in expressing disappointment with Chief Danielle Outlaw’s response to allegations of improper uses of less-lethal weapons and disparate treatment of anti-racist activists by the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). The group is made up of CAIR-Oregon (Council on American-Islamic Relations – Oregon), Portland DSA (Democratic Socialists of America – Portland), Empower Portland, Portland Jobs with Justice, and NLG Portland (National Lawyers Guild – Portland).
In her press statements, Chief Outlaw said that “We call it down the middle,” and that anti-racist protesters “came with the intent to cause some problems.” She also said that, Portland Police “actually proactively sent out staff to all area hospitals in an effort to locate injured persons.”
The Portland-based community organizations stated that:
“We’re deeply disappointed by Chief Outlaw’s response to these troubling events. The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has failed to protect Portlanders who have for years experienced the ramifications of violent alt-right behavior gone unchecked in the city. This behavior has included racist groups openly admitting to spreading hate speech and violent threats, carrying weapons into public spaces, causing violence that provokes police attacks upon innocent protesters, and manipulating the police from conducting a thorough and proper investigation of riot events they have organized.
Portlanders who choose to rise up against those who openly commit hate crimes in public shouldn’t have to fall victim to the Bureau’s weaponry during a lawful protest, which caused one victim to suffer a traumatic brain injury and left another victim with third-degree burns. Disparate treatment of anti-racist activists who are passionate about defending marginalized communities, like the Muslim, Jewish, Black, Latino and LGBTQIA communities, are deserving of cooperation and respect, rather than police violence.
Several news outlets, including Rawstory, reported that video has emerged showing the real reason why anti-racist activists were attacked was because PPB had forgotten two police vehicles behind. This report runs counter to PPB’s narrative that counter-protesters had thrown objects towards them. More so, this report is consistent with witness videos available online and the journalistic accounts from that day. If PPB is choosing to protect its police property over the well-being of thousands of people, we are in a bigger crisis than we thought.
In addition, we’re deeply disturbed to hear from the Chief that Portland Police proactively attempted to search for those allegedly injured by them in local hospitals. These actions seem like Portland Police are not trauma-informed and, more so, shows citizens there is a lack of regard for constitutional privacy and HIPAA rules. If any hospitals actively gave information to PPB on any patient who came in seeking medical assistance as a result of being allegedly harmed by police, they should be sanctioned for HIPAA violations.
Furthermore, we encourage those negatively impacted by police behavior to seek out attorneys prior to reporting to law enforcement.
As a result of the above, we are reiterating our demand for the oversight of the Portland Police Bureau through the following items:
- An outside agency (the Oregon Department of Justice, the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division or other third party civilian oversight agency) must conduct an investigation into PPB tactics.
- Oregon legislators must pass a bill for the development of a fully funded Civil Rights Division within the Oregon Department of Justice to ensure future police misconduct will be investigated by the state.”