PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden gave scathing remarks Sunday when asked to comment on videos revealing federal officers firing an impact munition at a protester in Portland.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty also condemned the presence of federal troops in the city. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office later issued a response Sunday night that said an investigation into the incident will be conducted.
On Saturday night, a man was seen getting struck in the head in front of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse being guarded by federal officers during a night of protesting.
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Gov. Brown weighed in on the incident Sunday saying, “The events of last night at the federal courthouse were the tragic and avoidable result of President Donald Trump, for weeks, continuing to push for force and violence in response to protests.”
“The cycle of violence must end, Brown said. “President Trump deploying armed federal officers to Portland only serves to escalate tensions and, as we saw yesterday, will inevitably lead to unnecessary violence and confrontation.”
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The officers have a shot someone in the head with what appears to be an impact munition, there is a lot of blood. #blacklivesmatter #pdx #portlandoregon #oregon #blm #acab #portland #justicecenter pic.twitter.com/8JmR3QA0AN— Garrison Davis (Teargas Proof) (@hungrybowtie) July 12, 2020
Sen. Wyden also placed blame on the president with a message on Twitter:
“The consequences of Donald Trump unilaterally dispatching fed’l law enforcement into U.S. cities played out in Portland w/a peaceful protester shot in the head. Trump & Homeland Security must now answer why fed’l officers are acting like an occupying army.”
In a Sunday night statement from Wheeler, the mayor said that his main concern was “that the continuing violence will lead to further injuries or even deaths.” Wheeler said after speaking with US Attorney Bill Williams he learned that the US Marshals Service will be conducting a full investigation into the incident.
Wheeler said he is also calling on the federal government to “adhere to the same directives as our Portland Police Bureau when it comes to crowd control munitions.”
“We must end this nightly violence in Portland. Lives are at stake,” Wheeler concluded. His full statement can be read at the bottom of this article.
Earlier Sunday, Hardesty said that “federal troops need to withdraw immediately,” but that this alone will not solve the issue.
“The federal troops need to withdraw immediately, and after that we have the hard task of picking up the pieces and responding to what the public and this movement asks of us,” said Hardesty. Her full statement can be read at the bottom of this article.
The Portland Police Bureau could not immediately be reached for comment.
Sunday afternoon, Wheeler’s opponent in November’s mayoral race, Sarah Iannarone, released a statement condemning the actions of federal law enforcement against peaceful protesters, criticizing Wheeler as well.
“Like any human witnessing this violence, I am outraged,” Iannarone said. “I, and the people of Portland, demand to know why Ted Wheeler is allowing Trump’s Border Patrol to abuse people in our sanctuary city.”
Statement from Mayor Ted Wheeler
“A person was seriously injured in Portland last night. This should not have happened. I spoke with US Attorney Bill Williams about the injuries and learned that the U.S. Marshals Service will be conducting a full investigation. I am calling on the federal government to be thorough and transparent with their findings. I’m concerned that the actions of federal officers last night escalated, rather than de-escalated, already heightened tensions in our city.
We are now more than a month and a half into witnessing nightly violence on our streets. Portland continues to be used as a staging ground for violence night after night. This is causing unprecedented harm to our communities, livelihoods, and Portlanders continue to fear for their safety. My main concern is this: that the continuing violence will lead to further injuries or even deaths. Nobody in Portland wants to see that happen. That is why I put into place restrictions on the Portland Police Bureau, limiting the use of CS gas and LRAD to only life safety situations. Portland Police Chief Lovell knows my direction and expectation of the bureau: to end the nightly violence as quickly and safely as possible. I am calling on the federal government to adhere to the same directives as our Portland Police Bureau when it comes to crowd control munitions.
I am also calling on our city, county and federal partners as well as our entire community to join me in our call to move our city forward in peace so that we can begin the necessary work of rebuilding, reforming, protecting our community from a global pandemic, and dismantling systemic racism. We must end this nightly violence in Portland. Lives are at stake.”
Statement from Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
“Last week it was disconcerting to see militarized federal officers with war weapons embedded with the Portland Police Bureau and stationed around Portland. Since then their presence brought on an escalation of violence towards protesters – an extreme response to a movement challenging police violence. This reckless and aggressive behavior has now put someone in the hospital. This protester is still fighting for their life and I want to be clear: this should never have happened. If this continues a life will be taken and it won’t matter whether a federal officer or Portland Police officer did it – it won’t bring that person back.
While I absolutely condemn the federal troops’ presence in Portland and demand that they withdraw, I am not naïve enough to think that their withdrawal alone will solve the issue. Even prior to the federal troops entering Portland, reports and videos of police violently responding to protesters came out nightly. Watching things reach a boiling point, I sent an open letter to Chief Lovell asking him to de-escalate the events unfolding and to publicly explain his and the bureau’s response to the nightly protests.
While we need to continue to challenge systems of white supremacy, including the ‘ok’ symbol found in the window of the Hatfield Courthouse, we also need to examine and tackle our own responsibility and complacency in these systems. It is our police force that has been responding violently to protesters before the federal troops entered the stage. If Portland will not lead in de-escalating the situation then the federal troops will take lead, and we have already seen how dangerous that will be for Portlanders exercising their first amendment rights.
We have had more than enough. The federal troops need to withdraw immediately, and after that we have the hard task of picking up the pieces and responding to what the public and this movement asks of us.”