OSP: Body cam shows trooper signaled ‘OK,’ not ‘White Power’

2020 Protests

Agency responds to video spread on Twitter

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon State Police released body cam footage Sunday to show one of its troopers was not flashing a hand gesture praising “White Power” at a recent Black Lives Matter protest in Salem.

The response follows the spread of a video on social media Saturday showing a trooper giving a sign to an anti-BLM demonstrator at an event in front of the Capitol. The video was first shared on Twitter by the user @MsLisaHendricks with the caption, “Tell me again how defund the police is wrong when no one even bats an eye at a policeman in Oregon flashing a white power sign at a Proud Boy that he’s obviously chummy with.”

The tweet, published at 9:43 p.m. Saturday had nearly 42,000 retweets by Sunday afternoon.

OSP Responds

“The agency commissioned an immediate review of the event,” OSP said in the statement. “Troopers were policing an event that attracted counter-protestors.”

“Information indicates the trooper had just witnessed two protestors engaged in a physical altercation and one man was knocked to the ground.  Troopers arrested Christopher Davis, 50, of Salem on charges of Disorderly Conduct and Harassment and he was transported the Marion County Jail. The man that was knocked to the ground recovered his footing and interacted with troopers in the vicinity (the portion of the video that is being displayed by the media and social media).  An OSP trooper approached the man and asked if he was unharmed — while simultaneously displaying the hand signal commonly associated with ‘okay.'”  

“We appreciate that the public would be concerned and rightfully outraged if an OSP trooper were to flash an offensive gesture. We would share in that outrage and concern. In this instance, we would ask the public await the complete information before condemning a trooper with an irreparable and harmful label. Additionally, some members of the public are misidentifying the trooper in the video with another trooper who was working the event.”

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