PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Portland-area police agencies say they are “unaware” of local officers attending the D.C. rally that turned violent, with a mob breaching Congress in what may have been an attempt to help overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
However, both the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond on Saturday to questions about whether any further investigation would take place.
Civil rights considerations could preclude a wider investigation based on attendance, since much of the event was a standard political rally, protected by the U.S. Constitution, judging by media accounts.
But while many attendees are not believed to have entered Congress or otherwise committed crimes, the mob storming the capitol and the ensuing events left five dead including one Capitol police officer, who Politico reported was “reportedly bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.”
Another was a Trump activist killed by police.
Shortly after 5p.m. on Jan 6, Portland Police Association President Brian Hunzeker condemned the rioting on Facebook.
“The Portland Police Association condemns the lawlessness that has broken out in the United States Capitol. We stand by our brothers and sisters in blue in Washington D.C. as they work to bring order and peace back to our Nation,” he wrote.
The Associated Press reported that late on Friday Seattle’s police chief confirmed that department is investigating two police officers who were apparently in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, to determine if they committed crimes.
It’s unclear if the Seattle investigation was sparked by an allegation of criminal activity or just of attendance to the event.
Asked Saturday morning if the Portland agency was aware of any officers attending or intended to investigate, Sgt. Kevin Allen said that he personally was “unaware of any such allegations or investigation involving city of Portland employees.”
He noted that non-criminal political activity by officers is explicitly permitted while off-duty. In other words, such an investigation could delve into political activities — something that is also prohibited by Oregon law.
Still, Allen suggested further answers could be forthcoming by Monday, adding that “Community trust is a core value for the Portland Police Bureau, and that has influenced the policies we have in place.”
Sheriff’s spokesman Chris Liedle responded saying “We’re not aware of any deputies or staff that traveled to DC this past week.”
He did not immediately respond to the question of whether MCSO intended to investigate further.
Federal prosecutors, including Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams, vowed to prosecute anyone found to have engaged in criminal activity during the Jan. 6 riot and breach.
Despite Trump and his allies filing dozens of lawsuits bearing purported claims of voting fraud, judge after judge threw out the suits as baseless, and various Republican officials, including in Congress, have agreed the claims are baseless.
The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner