Police, mayor face criticism after protest violence

Crime

Investigators are combing through thousands of photos and videos

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Police said more arrests will be coming after Saturday’s protests and clashes in downtown Portland.

There has been criticism over whether police were able to step in soon enough when things got violent.

Mayor Ted Wheeler is out of the country on vacation but his senior advisor on public safety, Robert King, told KOIN 6 News investigators are looking over hundreds of photos and videos on social media.

There were a few separate incidents — a brawl near Pioneer Courthouse Square after officers started to disperse crowds and another attack on conservative blogger Andy Ngo.

The writer went to the hospital after he was beaten and had his camera stolen. His lawyer said on social media that Ngo was admitted with a brain bleed.

Many on social media were quick to criticize the mayor and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw, neither of whom made any public statement about the violence before noon Monday.

Monday afternoon Wheeler sent out a series of tweets saying in part, “We will do everything we can do make sure that those who have committed violence are held accountable.”

PPB released several photos of people they believe were involved in violence on Saturday with the hope of identifying them.

Portland police want help identifying these people who may have been involved in violence during a protest on June 29, 2019. (PPB)
Portland police want help identifying these people who may have been involved in violence during a protest on June 29, 2019. (PPB)

Police said officers saw many people in the crowd with weapons including batons, projectiles and firearms. They also said they got an email stating milkshakes thrown at protesters contained quick-drying cement.

Police said three people were arrested — one in relation to the milkshakes and eight were treated by medics during the demonstrations.

King said the objective for officers Saturday was to allow for free speech and keep opposing groups apart — which they largely managed to do for several hours.

Criticism was echoed by the police union, President Daryl Turner released a statement saying in part, “Police officers work to uphold the Constitution, including the right to free speech. It’s our job to ensure that our community can peacefully protest without fear of violence but right now our hands are tied.”

Outlaw wrote the following in a 3 p.m. press release:

“The members of the Portland Police Bureau and our partner agencies worked diligently in difficult circumstances on Saturday in an attempt to keep the peace, then respond to violence perpetrated by some of the participants as the event devolved. These events are dynamic in nature and challenging to predict and manage. The acts of a select group of violent individuals do not define Portland, but do have a negative impact on all of us. We are determined to pursue every lead with the goal of arresting those who engaged in crimes and holding them accountable. The public should be aware of the time it takes to shift resources and address violence; it is not immediate and officers have to weigh many factors in their approach. Even with this approach, some of our law enforcement and community members were subject to pepper spray, projectiles, and assault, which is unacceptable and impeded our ability to assist others.”

Anyone who witnessed violence or can help identify the people in the photos PPB released should contact detectives at 503.823.0400.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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