A Portland police show celebrates violence against protesters

A slideshow designed to train officers in Portland, Oregon, in policing techniques at protests concluded with a message that celebrated the use of violence against protesters, suggesting that they would end up “stitched and bandaged,” according to records released by the city dated Friday.

The image was included at the end of a 110-segment training session, apparently from 2018, detailing the types of protests officers might face, along with an analysis of crowd behavior and police tactics that could be used to maintain order. The closing slide was Lamim taunting the protesters as filthy hippies, celebrating that officers could “baptize your heads with walnuts, and spray your faces with pepper spray.”

It included a picture of what appeared to be a police officer in riot gear beating a protester.

Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office, who serves as the police commissioner, released the document on Friday, saying it surfaced as part of a lawsuit related to the racial justice protests that swept the city in 2020. Mr. Wheeler said he was “disgusted” by the segment that had ridiculed the protesters and began Investigation.

“The Portland Police Department must reject the harmful and divisive position expressed in this slip,” he said.

Chuck Lovell, who became police chief in 2020, said the message in the presentation was not “representative of the Portland Police Office, which is disappointing to all of us who work so hard to earn the trust of the community.”

The police office documented that he used force more than 6,000 times during the protests, leading to reprimands from federal officials who deemed the city non-compliant with an earlier settlement agreement.

Mr Wheeler’s office said that while the document appears to have been created in 2018, it remains unclear when and by whom the slide was added to the training materials. His office said it was not sure if it had been used during training.

The police office has long had a confrontational relationship with protesters in Portland, and those tensions escalated during the racial justice demonstrations that followed the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020.

When some people smashed windows or set fires, police often responded by blanketing the streets with tear gas and throwing protesters to the ground. The city has faced a series of lawsuits over the use of tear gas as well as individual cases of excessive force, including a recent $100,000 settlement with a protester who said officers tried to take his sign before spraying it in the face and dumping it on the ground.

Teresa Rayford, executive director of the activist organization Don’t Shoot Portland, said the training materials didn’t surprise her but she was glad it was now available for all to see. She said the assaults described in the meme were one of the things that Portland protesters had witnessed for years.

“I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it,” said Mrs. Rayford.

Ms Rayford said she wants the Department of Justice to investigate the Portland Police Office over its tactics, bias and links between officers and white nationalist organisations. Federal agents played their own part during the protests, violently confronting protesters in front of a downtown United States court; Then FBI agents were deployed to monitor the crowds in the ensuing months.

The Portland slide show includes various strategies and weapons for containing the protests, including a “Rising Force” model where officers clash with protesters. The show also details the “Negotiated Management” model, which details how officers can be friendly, maintaining open communications with protest organizers while organizing riot squads out of sight. The slide show notes that the negotiating model “does not work with anarchists or extremist groups that refuse to negotiate with the police.”

In 2021, after nearly a year of turmoil following the murder of Mr Floyd, which included regular demonstrations that resulted in windows of everything from cafés being smashed to the Boys and Girls Club, the city followed a vigorous crackdown.

Mr Wheeler said at the time that he wanted to “uncover” those protesters who had engaged in frequent vandalism or arson, saying it was time to “hurt them a little”.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo