By Kelsea Valerio
PORTLAND, OR – A video surfaced just yesterday where ICE and Department of Homeland Security officers are seen using excessive force against a throng of media representatives, who were recording as the police made a violent arrest on one individual.
Portland police and ICE/DHS officers collaborated last night to make arrests (this is completely allowed, despite city council’s quasi ban on feds/PPB communicating) https://t.co/kTbLHsj6Zn
— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) August 20, 2020
Citing the video as another example of a dysfunctional police, and with a history that includes 30 years working on police accountability and reform, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty urged the
Portland mayor to grant her authority over the Portland Police Bureau if he is unable to rein in control.
In the video, members of the press clearly identified themselves to the police, with “PRESS” in large block letters written on both sides and the back of their protective helmets.
Individuals on both sides of the conflict are wearing some form of heavy duty face masks complete with respirators. Police and protestors correctly anticipated the potential use of tear gas in this instance, as an officer deployed tear gas in an attempt to push back members of the press.
While the video is only one minute and 11 seconds, the tensions between the public and Portland law enforcement are pronounced and disconcerting.
City Commissioner Hardesty issued a statement last night in the wake of the police’s brutality that has pervaded the city as the momentum of the Black Lives Matter Movement grew.
Hardesty has previously underscored her belief that Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also acting Police Commissioner, is not doing enough to curb the excessive police force and violence inflicted upon peaceful protestors.
Hardesty condemns Wheeler’s lack of action, asserting, “We face an uphill battle to undo centuries of racist policies and governing.”
As the first African American woman on Portland’s city council, Hardesty has promoted her philosophy of nonviolent direct action, and maintains, “We have seen too many Black people killed at the hands of police, and the nightly violence carried out by police at protesters challenging police violence only adds more pain and trauma.”
Hardesty cites examples of brutality that include a pipe thrown at protesters in Laurelhurst Park, the tearing down of Black Lives Matter signs posted by local businesses, and fires at the Multnomah County building.
Affronted by this police misconduct, Hardesty calls for a munitions ban, the dropping of all charges on reporters arrested while covering protests, for officers to practice de-escalation in all situations, and a stringent review of the Portland Police Bureau’s budget.
Since June of this year more than 40 protest-related complaints have been filed and are now under investigation by Portland’s independent police oversight body.
Maintaining optimism, Hardesty is hopeful for the future of Portland, stating the challenges that the city faces are not insurmountable, and she believes in “the power of Portlanders to bring about change and healing.”
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