Portland, OR – The president of the Portland police union has called for the city council “to quit sitting on their hands” and “draw a line in the sand” with violent protesters.
The Portland Police Association president – Portland Police Officer Daryl Turner – called out the city council for its lack of support for officers during this time of violent political protests, The Oregonian reported.
Officer Turner posted a long appeal to the city council on Facebook on Monday.
He called Portland “one of the most politically violent cities in America.”
“Lawlessness, aggression, and violence have replaced peaceful protests,” the president of the police union wrote. “In a harshly divided nation, we have become a stark example of what happens when fringe groups get exactly what they ask for with their grandstanding – attention.”
Violent protests in Portland have become internationally famous in recent months.
The city’s lack of response to some of the demonstrators’ lawlessness has raised the question about who is actually running things.
On Oct. 8, video was captured of masked antifa members directing traffic on Portland streets, telling regular citizens where they could and could not go.
“This is the type of street anarchy that routinely happens where I live,” journalist Andy Ngo wrote in a tweet along with videos of the chaos. “Here is video…showing Antifa directing traffic in downtown and threatening people who don’t obey with violence.”
“Mayor @tedwheeler, who really runs this town?” Ngo wrote.
The video showed antifa took over city streets in Portland and blocked traffic, threatened drivers, and damaged an elderly man’s vehicle while officers stood on the fringes and did not intervene.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler proposed on Oct. 15, after another weekend of brawling between Patriot Prayer members and antifa, that the city council should enact a new ordinance that would allow the police commissioner to tell protesters when, how, and where to protest.
Mayor Wheeler is the Portland police commissioner.
Officer Turner’s Facebook post accused elected officials of failing to embrace common sense opportunities in response to the violence at protests.
“We have seen a similar failure with the handling of the recent protests in downtown Portland and the City's proposed policy changes in response to violence at protests,” Officer Turner wrote. “It's time for City Council to quit sitting on their hands and openly and collectively decry the violence and destruction forced upon the many and caused by a few.”
He wrote that protesters believe they can “harass, assault, and victimize” people at will without threat of being arrested, indicted, or convicted.
Officer Turner objected to police officials’ management of the violent demonstrations.
When the Portland Police Bureau faced criticism for not arresting the antifa members who took over the city’s intersections, their excuse for ordering officers to stand down was that introducing law enforcement to a crowd of people engaged in illegal activity could "change the demeanor of the crowd for the worse."
The police union president didn’t see it the same way.
“Our job as law enforcement is to protect the public and enforce the law. People who endanger or victimize others should be held accountable for their actions,” Officer Turner said.
The police union’s president referenced guidance from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as a “simple solution.”
“Let's be clear: police officers work to uphold the Constitution, including the right to free speech,” Officer Turner wrote. “When protests are peaceful, it's our job to ensure that our community can say their piece and say it without fear of violence.”
“But when violence erupts at a protest, it is incumbent on the Police Bureau to step in and stop the violence through arrests. And, in turn, it is incumbent on our criminal justice system to ensure wrongdoers are held accountable for their person and property crimes,” he posted.
He blamed a culture of enablement, the restriction of enforcement, criticism of police tactics whether they act or not, and “an over-emphasis on de-escalation and disengagement” for Portland’s current situation.
Officer Turner called on the city’s lawmakers to get their acts together.
“It's time to draw a line in the sand and let people know that unequivocally, there will be no violence accepted in peaceful protests,” he wrote. “And our City Council must support our officers when we act to preserve public safety.”