PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Daryl Turner, the president of the Portland Police Association, did not mince words when he released an open letter decrying both rioters and elected officials.
And he did not mince words when he spoke with KOIN 6 News on Tuesday about the ongoing violence and riots in downtown Portland.
“The peaceful protesters, their First Amendment rights have been hijacked by a bunch of thugs, by people who are out here to destroy, to damage, to cause trouble,” Turner told KOIN 6 News.
In recent days the number of peaceful protesters has declined while the violence keeps occuring by the Justice Center and the Hatfield Federal Courthouse.
On Monday, Turner laid into both the armed rioters and elected officials who are “demonizing and vilifying the officers on the front lines.”
Turner in an open letter said the rioters “have drawn attention away from an important message about social and racial equity that needs to be heard.”
“Their destructive and chaotic behavior defines the meaning of white privilege; their total disregard for people, property, and the law embodies entitlement,” he wrote.
But what angers him “is that elected officials at the state and local levels are defending these criminal actions while in the same breath demonizing and vilifying the officers on the front lines protecting our communities, our safety, our livelihood, and our rights.”
And at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Turner will hold a press conference to talk about community safety and policing.
Meanwhile, Gov. Kate Brown said she is disturbed by what appears to be a pattern of escalation between PPB and a small group of protesters destroying property. Brown wants the City of Portland to be proactive, use dialogue and de-escalation tactics to deal with the rioting.
“Let them come out and show us what de-escalation is,” Turner said. “Our officers are showing restraint every night and there is just a group of people out there hellbent on causing issues and chaos through our neighborhoods and destroying peoples’ businesses.”
Meanwhile, those on the forefront of calling for change say it’s not getting any better.
“Black people are not safe here, whether it be about education, police, politics. We’re always secondary,” said Cole Reed, the co-owner of the Greenhaus Gallery. “And our history is so problematic we can’t get past anything else because of our history here in Oregon.”