Under the governor’s orders, law enforcement officers will reportedly have access to tear gas, despite the substance’s use by cops previously being banned by Portland Mayor ed Wheeler, who also serves as city police chief.
Governor of Oregon Kate Brown has ended up declaring a state of emergency in the city of Portland on Friday, ahead of a rally held by a right-wing group known as the Proud Boys, Fox News reports.
According to the media outlet, this decision was made as members of the Proud Boys plan to gather at a downtown park Saturday, “potentially setting the stage for confrontations with counterprotesters”.
“The Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer groups have come to Portland time and time again from out of state looking for a fight and the results are always tragic,” Brown said during a news conference.”Let me be perfectly clear: We will not tolerate any kind of violence this weekend. Those stoking the flames of violence, those coming to Portland looking for a fight will be held accountable.”
The governor’s order will reportedly place the Oregon State Police and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office “in charge of crowd management efforts”.
State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton noted that a “massive influx of state troopers and sheriff’s deputies” will occur in Portland starting Saturday morning, though it wasn’t immediately clear exactly how many law enforcement officers are “tapped” to come to the city, the media outlet adds.
Hampton also said that per the arrangement, officers will have access to tear gas, even though Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as city police chief, had previously directed law enforcement to stop using the substance for “crowd control”.
“Operating under the governor’s emergency act, we will not remove CS gas as a possibility from these events,” Hampton said. “We will use it judiciously. We hope we will not use it at all, but we will make this available not only to Oregon State Police troopers and Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputies, but also to Portland police officers.”
Portland has become one of the hotspots for nationwide protests against racism and police brutality in the United States after an African American man named George Floyd was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.