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Portland Police Respond to “Use of Force” Report
"Crowd control is always evolving”

In a response to the Citizens' Review Committee which produced a report and recommendations on police behavior on the riots of a year-and-a-half ago, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell acknowledged and defended his officers.

I want to acknowledge the impact to our Bureau members. They are human beings who were subjected to almost nighty events where dangerous objects were thrown at them. Every precinct was lit on fire or was damaged. Bureau personnel were injured and many were threatened as they arrived and departed from their shifts.

This is contrasted with descriptions in the report which has descriptions such as, "Some community members described being targeted, suffering injury by this equipment, and being subject to the unjustified use of force as traumatizing."

Chief Lovell's letter describes the severity of the riots:

Following the murder of George Floyd, our city saw more than 170 days of crowd control events. Many events included thousands of people and were peaceful, requiring no police presence. However, unfortunately many others included civil unrest in varying degrees. The events of 2020 are complex and the Bureau was challenged by a number of factors, including the frequency of events, the complexity of tactics used by participants and decreased staffing, which contributed to fatigue and increased call response times. Many roles in the Incident Management Team were filled by the same personnel, due to a shortage of trained personnel. I am proud of the sacrifices made by many of our Bureau members to ensure the very worst didn't occur. Many of these nights could have resulted in a mass casualty event.

The closest Lovell came to promising reform or adoption of any recommendations was near the end of the letter, saying, "Crowd control is always evolving, as new and safer techniques and tools are developed. in addition, there are changes and updates on legal issues. Recently, we asked the City Attorney to seek a higher opinion regarding the ramifications behind HB 2928 in regard to crowd control."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-10 16:00:20Last Update: 2021-10-10 16:21:56

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