The New York Times published an op-ed Monday afternoon in which Portland Police Department Chief Chuck Lovell describes the violent tactics used by “Black Lives Matter” protests that have raged in the city since the end of May.
The op-ed is titled “I’m the Police Chief in Portland. Violence Isn’t the Answer,” and the sub-headline is: “As a Black man and a public servant, I see that spectacle is drowning out the voices that need to be heard to make positive change.”
While describing non-violent protests in the city as an “awesome expression of First Amendment rights,” Lovell notes that there was also constant rioting and violent protest — long before federal law enforcement officers arrived. (Lovell says federal involvement merely drew media attention to the situation, which had already been violent.)
On one night, for example, individuals screwed the doors of our North Precinct station shut, barricaded other entrances and lit the station on fire with people inside. Nearby businesses, owned by people of color, were damaged and looted. On other nights, there were multiple attempts to breach the Justice Center. Other law enforcement facilities were targeted, including the union building, which was broken into and had fires set within.
Violence and destruction have also been directed at the federal courthouse, which sits next to the Justice Center. The president sent additional federal agents to Portland, and our city became national news.
During these events, our agency has responded to assaults, stabbing, shootings, people with guns and the stockpiling of explosives. Shooting off commercial-grade fireworks and mortars is not peaceful protest. We are fortunate that no one has been killed.
The voices of victims are not heard as well. Because of the protests, officers have not been able to respond to 911 calls or have been delayed for hours. Investigators’ cases lie on their desks as they work nights to process arrests. We have seen an alarming increase in shootings and homicides. We need to redirect our focus to preventing and solving these crimes that are taking a hugely disproportionate number of minority lives.
Read the full op-ed here.
Democrats have attempted to deny the violence in Portland, or to blame it on President Donald Trump for sending additional federal law enforcement personnel to protect the courthouse from vandalism, arson, and attacks on officers.
Former Vice President Joe Biden accused federal officers of “brutally attacking peaceful protesters.” Former President Barack Obama used his eulogy at the funeral of John Lewis last week to accuse the Trump administration of “sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators.”
Chief Lovell’s op-ed makes clear that the agents were sent in response to violent riots — and that the police support the cause of reform, if pursued through non-violent means.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.