PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland has released the new results of an independent review of its response to historic protests in 2020.
Among other things, the review said that Portland officers relied too much on tools like tear gas to disperse crowds and included a list of 12 recommendations, including rebuilding its mutual aid network with nearby agencies and improving its training to reach national standards.
The review, commissioned as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice, used interviews with community members, city leaders, police and public forums to establish their findings.
During interviews with the public, the review said that many people shared distrust with the police due to their lack of transparency with policing tactics during the protests.
The review also found that the use of force, such as shooting rubber bullets, was not being tracked by the police consistently, leaving police to later estimate the amount of use of force incidents.
Taking community testimony and reviewing videos of the protest, the review describes the police attempts to disperse crowds as dangerous, specifically citing incidents of what police called “dynamics” or what protestors called a “bull rush,” which the report described as a line of police forming a barricade of shields and charging a crowd to attempt to scare them into fleeing.
These incidents as well as the overuse of tear gas and less-than-lethal weapons and improper tracking by police led the review to create 12 recommendations for Portland police to follow:
- The City must rebuild its mutual aid network
- PPB must dramatically reduce its reliance on crowd dispersals with RCAs, like CS gas, at public order events.
- PPB must strengthen and clarify its public order and use of force directives
- The City must ensure PPB directives related to internal controls during public order events are followed
- The City must create a new specialized public order team consistent with emerging standards for advanced public order units.
- The new public order team must be rigorously scrutinized by PPB executives, overseen by Portland’s new oversight agency, and transparently introduced to the public.
- The city must continue to improve its public order training program consistent with recent National Tactical Officers Association standards.
- PPB police should require chiefs to be engaged with and visible to officers in the field during public order deployments, when possible.
- PPB must prepare a deep bench of leaders to serve as incident commanders and operations section chiefs.
- PPB should develop a pre-operational briefing checklist and hold supervisors accountable for providing comprehensive briefings to officers before public order deployments.
- PPB must formalize the debriefing process for public order deployments.
- The City should produce a detailed self-assessment in 180 days reflecting the steps it took to implement these recommendations.
The full review and recommendations can be viewed on the City of Portland website.
There will be a public forum with the city council to discuss the report on Aug. 23.