PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty repeated her apology for comments about Portland Police Bureau officers during an open dialogue press conference on Thursday.
“Sometimes I screw up, yesterday was one of those days, it was very emotional, and I made some remarks that were out of the context that I would like to have put them in,” she said.
Hardesty came under fire for comments she made in both a city council meeting and in Marie Claire magazine. In the Marie Claire article, Hardesty said she believes PPB had provocateurs inside with protesters and that the bureau “is lying about the damage—or starting the fires themselves—so that they have justification for attacking community members.”
She blamed her emotions for getting the best of her, saying “all of us are exhausted all of us are committed to making sure I provide the best service I can for the people of Portland.”
The city commissioner continued to blame Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner for tension, saying that he “continues to tell media outlets that there was over $25 million of damage done by protesters downtown” when in fact much of the damage is lost revenue due to the pandemic.
“Do I think police are exacerbating, both Portland Police and Federal Police, yes, they are exacerbating the tension,” she said.
She said if she was in charge of the police bureau, she would not send any officers to the protests in order to alleviate the tension. She listed other measures she would take if she was in charge instead of Mayor Wheeler.
“I don’t know if he has what we need at this time,” Hardesty said about Mayor Wheeler as a leader, after being asked whether or not she thought he was a strong enough leader during this contentious time. She said he grew up in privilege.
Hardesty announced the press conference days before her comments about the Portland Police Bureau were published, which was the same day she said on the record at the City Council meeting that Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner “continues to lie to the public on a daily basis about the lack of cooperation of Portland Police personnel.”
“It just makes me crazy,” she said, “when I see people who were sworn to protect and serve continuing to lie to the public.”
Those comments drew sharp rebukes from both PPB Chief Chuck Lovell — who said her accusations “stain credulity” — and Turner.
“If Commissioner Hardesty has evidence of her outlandish accusation, she should immediately produce it. Of course, there is no such evidence,” Turner said, adding that “Hardesty is part of the problem in Portland.”
He didn’t stop there.
“Politicians bent on power, perpetuating misinformation and untruths, are just as guilty of using their privilege to hijack this movement as the rioters who are committing violent acts, burning, and looting,” Turner said. “Both actions are causing destruction and chaos at a time when our communities are pleading for leadership and meaningful change.”