Portland mayor: Keeping police away from protest a mistake

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nearly three weeks after armed far-right and far-left protesters violently clashed in the streets of a diverse neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, the city’s mayor said Wednesday the lack of police intervention was “not the right strategy.” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Chuck Lovell have been criticized by residents, activists and state officials for the police bureau’s hands-off approach, when Proud Boys and antifascists brawled in streets, business parking lots and school grounds Aug. 22. State lawmakers representing northeast Portland said they were confused and frustrated by the decision for police not to intervene, while residents said they felt “terrorized and abandoned” as they watched fireworks explode in busy streets and people — in helmets and gas masks and armed with baseball bats, paintball guns and chemical spray — confronting each other. Noticeably missing from the scene were police. A spokesperson for the police bureau said officers were monitoring the fight from an airplane. In the days leading up to the opposing protests — the latest in a saga of political conflict that has plagued the city for years — officials said people shouldn’t expect to see officers trying to intervene or keep the sides apart. Lovell said this decision was made based on the department’s significant staffing shortage, “legal restrictions” when responding to protests and a history of officers’ presence increasing tensions.

Read more at the AP

Join now!