Portland residents felt “forsaken” by police during the clash


Portland, Oregon (AP) — For nearly 30 minutes, armed protesters from the far-right Proud Boys and the far-left anti-fascist opposition group struck streets, business parking, and schools in various parts of the northeast last weekend. Clashed on the premises of. Portland, Oregon.

The car attempted to drive by Sunday as fireworks exploded on the road and there was a conflict between people wearing helmets and gas masks, armed with baseball bats, paintball guns, and chemical sprays.

Notably missing was the Portland Police Department.

Before the latest skirmishes of political conflicts that have plagued the city for years, officials said they shouldn’t expect people to intervene or see officers trying to leave. rice field.

However, the lack of law enforcement intervention has made residents feel “feared and abandoned,” and local and state leaders have the image of a police station struggling to find a foothold in the city. In addition to being hurt further, I am dissatisfied.

“As soon as the fighting began and spilled into the neighborhood, police should have come in and stopped it,” said Democratic Senator Michael Dembrow, who represents a wide range of the Park Rose community where the conflict took place. “I’ve heard from many Park Rose residents who felt betrayed by the lack of police presence. They have every reason to feel that way.”

Portland is no stranger to the various political groups fighting on the streets. Almost a year ago, a caravan of Donald Trump’s supporters ran through the city and met rebels.There was a shift between groups, and right-wing protesters Shot deadly.

Prior to last week’s demonstration, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell takes “legal restrictions” into account when dealing with protests, the history of police presence, rising tensions, and departmental staff shortages. Said.

There are 145 fewer police officers than a year ago. In June, a team of 50 police officers working in a specialized crowd management unit in Portland, Oregon, resigned in response to ongoing, often violent protests. collect After a team member has been charged with criminal charges.

Based on these factors, Ravel said he had decided not to place police officers in a very dangerous position among groups of highly motivated people to face each other.

Far-left anti-fascists gathered early Sunday afternoon at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, waving the Black Lives Matter flag.Approximately 8 miles (13 kilometers) away from the abandoned parking lot of Proud Boys, a diverse park rose community Gathered and heard In a speech condemning the anti-fascist movement and calling for the release of those arrested during the January 6 riots in the US Capitol.

“The Proud Boys decision to rally in Park Rose has been criticized at many levels. They take a hateful rally outside downtown, the usual place for protests and demonstrations, and port it. We chose to move to one of the most racially and ethnically diverse regions of the land, “said Denbrov.

A clash between a subset of the two groups blocked traffic around 4 pm on a busy road in the Park Rose area and sneaked into a business parking lot. At least one was forced. gas station Close early — and on the grounds of Park Rose High School.At least one video, A Portland Tribune reporter shared online and showed a family with a young child running towards a car to escape a collision.

After 30 minutes of fighting, the two separated on their own.

Oregonian / Oregonian Live report The Portland police were watching the battle from the plane.Also, as of Wednesday, the police Arrest of one person Related to collisions and demonstrations.

But even when members of the group, many of whom came from outside the town or out of state, said officials left the area, the inhabitants remained involved in violent events.

Michael Lopez Serrao, director of the Park Rose School District, said he felt “community painful” when he learned that some of his students and their families were seeing violence from home. The next day, he said, community members continued to pick up debris, paint, glass, and bear spray debris.

“It’s confusing at best and frustrating for many who live here. I felt that the East Portlanders were traditionally ignored by the city as a whole, so this only exacerbates that concern. I believe, “said Lopez Serrao. “Why ignore one of the historically poorly serviced city areas? If Portland is about fairness, we should enhance this community and protect its vulnerabilities. is.”

The idea that the lack of police presence undermines the already negative image of the department was repeated by Michael Drayling, a professor of sociology at the University of Oregon.

“If police are trying to control their image, refusing to present and enforce the law when the far-right militants emerge and incite violence is not a good way to do that,” Dray said. Ring said.

However, in the days following the clash, Mayors Ted Wheeler and Ravel supported the police’s approach and said they “contained” violence between groups.

“With strategic planning and surveillance, the Portland Police Department and I have eased the conflict between the two events and minimized the impact of weekend events on Portlander.”


Sara Cline is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America Is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.