PORTLAND RECKONS WITH POLICE ATTACKS ON PROTESTERS AFTER MONTHS OF UNREST

PORTLAND RECKONS WITH POLICE ATTACKS ON PROTESTERS AFTER MONTHS OF UNREST

Witness testimony and a video reconstruction detail deliberate violence by police against peaceful protesters.

DAYS INTO THE nationwide protest movement sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, the Black-led, police accountability group Don’t Shoot Portland sued the city of Portland, Oregon, over use of tear gas against protesters. The lawsuit led to a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Portland Police Bureau from using tear gas, except in narrow circumstances. But officers quickly switched gears, and in response to growing protests, they ramped up the deployment of OC spray, rubber bullets, pepper balls, flash bangs, and other impact munitions known as “nonlethal” or “less-lethal” weapons. Don’t Shoot Portland again sought and obtained a court order to limit police’s use of those weapons.

Then on June 30, just four days after a federal judge had sided with protesters and issued a restraining order on the use by police of less-lethal weapons, Portland officers meeting protesters outside the local police union building again fired smoke grenades, rubber bullets, and other impact munitions into the crowd, injuring several people. They then declared the protest a riot and deployed tear gas despite the court order restricting its use.