ACLU Asks OR Gov. Kate Brown to Appoint Independent Prosecutor to Probe Police Crimes as Violent Riots Continue

Portland police officers push protesters past a dumpster fire during a dispersal from in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in the early morning on August 21, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. For the second night in a row city police and federal officers clashed with protesters …
Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Almost nightly violent riots have taken place in Portland, Oregon, that have resulted in property destruction and even the deaths of individuals. But the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is calling on Oregon Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate whether police have committed crimes.

“We condemn white supremacy, and acknowledge the pain, fear, and psychological and physical harm that events like Proud Boys rallies bring to people in our communities, especially for black, brown, indigenous and other people of color,” Kelly Simon, interim legal director at the ACLU of Oregon, said in a statement issued on Sunday.

“Oregon officials must examine why groups like this continue to target Portland, including how police behavior supports such harm,” Simon said. “On Saturday, Oregonians who came together to continue to declare that black lives matter, to reject white supremacy, to repeat calls to defund the police, and to rally against police violence and bias were once again met with disgraceful police uses of force. Among many abuses, police violently shoved and dispersed journalists, forcefully threw people to the ground, and threatened to destroy the critical supplies of protest medics.

“We have yet to see most of our government officials reject this form of violence that has long been wreaking havoc in our communities and undermining protected expression,” Simon said.

“We call on Governor Brown to use her authority under ORS 131.805 to appoint a special, independent prosecutor to investigate and prosecute the rampant police abuses that have occurred in Portland over the last several months,” Simon said. “We also call on all law enforcement agencies who have engaged in policing at these protests to make publicly available all inter-agency agreements, cross-deputation documents, and technologies being used in their law enforcement activities. The public has a right to know who is policing their streets and to what agency policies, if any, they are accountable.”

“Police abuse of protesters, journalists, legal observers, medics, and bystanders must be stopped,” Simon said. “This is not a new issue and our government leaders must take action.”

As Breitbart News reported, Brown on Friday declared a state of emergency for the first times since rioting began following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Memorial Day in police custody in Minneapolis. 

The order put the Oregon State Police and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office instead of the Portland Police Bureau in charge of crowd control and was done in anticipation of a clash between the far-right group the Proud Boys and Antifa and anarchists holding simultaneous protests.

But while law enforcement managed to keep the two groups separated and the Poor Boys left the city, later on Saturday riots ensued, according to Willamette Weekly:

Shortly before midnight, police declared a protest outside the Multnomah County Justice Center an unlawful assembly and began dispersing protesters through the city.

They pushed protesters away from the Justice Center, down various streets in downtown. At times, a line of police officers would sprint through downtown yelling, “Move, move!” to separate and disperse demonstrators throughout the area. Some protesters said they were pepper-sprayed by police as they were forced to run. Others were pushed back with batons as officers rushed toward them.

Police said they were responding to leftist protesters throwing rocks and full drink cans at them. And the crackdown came only three nights after rioters at a Black Lives Matter protest hurled several Molotov cocktails into police lines.

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