Portland police chief Danielle Outlaw (yes, her name is literally Outlaw) has broken her silence and held a press conference this afternoon to speak about the dueling protests over the weekend that resulted in several people getting assaulted by antifa thugs, most notably journalist Andy Ngo.
The presser was announced via the police bureau’s Twitter page, with just 24 minutes notice, ensuring that as few people as possible would show up to ask her questions.
Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said Wednesday the city, police and community need “a better way” to address protest groups bent on brawling on Portland streets and called for laws that would bar masks worn by demonstrators, allow police to fully videotape protests and give authorities greater control of protests by groups with a history of violence.
“We have to do something differently,” Outlaw said, addressing reporters directly for the first time since violence in Saturday’s converging protests downtown drew national attention.
“There were entities that planned a brawl in the city of Portland and no one seems to be upset about that. … Entities came here for a fight. … I don’t even know what they were protesting against.’’
Outlaw, speaking in the 14th floor Police Bureau conference room in a hastily called press conference, denied that the mayor has “handcuffed’’ the police response to demonstrations in any way, as the police union president alleged this week. Mayor Ted Wheeler serves as the city’s police commissioner.
The chief again complimented officers for their response to the roving demonstrations by three groups, including anti-fascists, Proud Boys and supporters of the #HimToo movement. Three men were assaulted, including conservative writer Andy Ngo, and police arrested three people.
“We don’t want anyone to be hurt at all,’’ Outlaw said. “But it could have been a lot worse.’’
Portland police often have to react, instead of being proactive in their response, to protests without proper permits, Outlaw said. The bureau aimed Saturday to separate the competing groups and directed officers to move in as a team “whenever we can do it safely,’’ she said.
If officers are outnumbered when violence breaks out, though, it doesn’t make sense to send in officers who could be injured, she said.
“There are barriers to what we’re doing because we don’t have strategic resources to get ahead of these things,’’ Outlaw said. “Every demonstration we’ve responded to is reactionary. … We need strategic resources to get ahead of this before it starts so it’s not even allowed to happen in the first place.’’
She called for a law that would bar the wearing of masks by demonstrators in the commission of crimes.
“We cannot allow people to continue to use the guise of free speech to commit a crime,’’ Outlaw said. “A lot of people are emboldened because they know they can’t be identified.’’
About 15 states, and some counties and cities, have adopted some type of anti-mask law. Most ban the wearing of masks in a way that intimidates others. Opponents have argued that such restrictions deprive people of anonymity they seek to express their views or that it couldn’t be enforced simply for political protests versus other displays, such as for Halloween celebrations or parties.
Outlaw also pushed for changes in the law that would allow police to continually record protests, instead of only when crimes are committed, which she said slows police investigations because they only have snapshots of what occurred. Civil rights activists in Portland and Oregon, though, have objected to police videotaping people during their exercise of free speech.
Outlaw also reiterated her call for a local ordinance that would allow police to better control the time, place and manner of demonstrations by groups with a violent history. The mayor attempted to pass such an ordinance last year, but the council rejected it.
Video via KOIN 6:
Not helping matters for the embattled police bureau are the neighboring agencies that have cut ties with the city police and are no longer participating in mutual aid compacts, namely the Washington County and Clackamas County sheriff departments.
Meanwhile, vichy “mayor” Ted Wheeler issued this response to police union President Daryl Turner, insinuating that Turner is lying to the public:
As a sworn officer, Daryl Turner should know the dangers of spreading misinformation. These unsubstantiated false…
So who continues to issue stand down orders? Perhaps it was Assistant Chief Chris Davis, who always seems to be in the middle of these things, and was even credited by far left rag Portland Mercury for helping rioters during the 2016 election week protests when he ordered officers to shut down I5. Chris Davis also testified during the Michael Strickland trial that he was the one who ordered police to have no uniformed presence during a large unpermitted protest that resulted in Strickland drawing his firearm to thwart off multiple aggressive assailants.
MEANWHILE, the Portland Police Bureau has officially lowered their standards in an attempt to attract more recruits to fill the now 128 vacancies out 1001 positions, which is 12.8% of the force.
The Portland Police initially said the new approach to beards and tattoos would go into effect in a matter of weeks, but a revised statement Wednesday evening said those rules would instead “be updated and sent out for public review and comment prior to being accepted.”
Also Wednesday, the bureau announced plans to lower its education requirement for new officers. It will now take candidates with a GED or high school diploma, rather than requiring more extensive education or relevant experience to qualify.
Candidates with bachelor’s degrees or comparable work experience in law enforcement won’t have to take a qualifying exam.
The bureau says its new, lower standards align with state law enforcement criteria for officer certification.
“These changes to policies were made after careful review of our hiring process in the attempt to identify potential barriers to entry,” said Chief Danielle Outlaw. “We will revisit the effectiveness of these changes after two years to determine if our hiring numbers have increased.”
The Bureau says it is trying to fill 128 officer vacancies and is anticipating more retirements next year.
Video report via KPTV: