PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Police Union President Daryl Turner said on Wednesday that he has no confidence in city leaders to stop nightly violent protests that have caused costly damage to businesses and buildings.
“I have no confidence that the City Council will stand up for all of Portland. I have no confidence that the city will stop the rioting and looting and protect the safety and livelihood of Portlanders. I have no confidence that City Council will guide the PPB forward to the new era of policing that prioritizes safety, equity and reform,” Turner said.
Turner said the PPA has a new 8 part reform platform to improve policing services.
“We want change, we want healing,” Turner said. “To get there we must continue to engage with each other, we must continue to have difficult conversations.”
“Defunding police in our city will not improve or reform the police. To reach these goals, we must invest in our police bureau. Together we can make a difference, together we can improve, together we can heal. The Portland Police Association and its members will stand up for Portland.”
Watch the full press conference:
After that riot, Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek criticized police for their crowd control tactics and laid the blame for the riot squarely on the shoulders of law enforcement.
In part, Kotek wrote, “What needed to be protected last night? An empty office building? Was this need more important than the health of neighbors, of children in a neighborhood, of people returning home from work?”
Turner fired back. ”If you were referencing the Portland Police Association office, how do you know the office was empty? Were you aware that two PPA officials, including myself, were in the office that evening? Our personal safety is important. … Were you aware that the PPA office is also surrounded by homes and diverse residents? Their lives and their homes are important.”
On Monday, Turner wrote another open letter decrying both the rioters and elected officials who are “demonizing and vilifying the officers on the front lines.”
In an interview with KOIN 6 News on Tuesday, Turner was very direct.
“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.
Gov. Kate Brown said she wants police to de-escalate the situation with the protesters. Turner invited her to come downtown.
“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.”