It is now more than 100 days since protests, often violent, have been a daily occurrence in Portland Oregon. Portland Police appear to be taking a more proactive approach to the demonstrator’s, blocking their progress, using teargas and smoke bombs and taking more of them into custody. Critics on the left and right are calling for the resignation of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is up for re-election in November. Reporting on the mayor the Portland Oregonian wrote, “Many critics say they’re frustrated that Wheeler, the city’s police commissioner, expresses support for police reforms yet hasn’t come out strongly when officers appear to use excessive force on people during protests. Many others are frustrated he hasn’t done more to end the nightly demonstrations and the property damage, small fires and provocations of police that usually accompany them. Still others feel he has said more about his disagreements with President Donald Trump than his solutions to aid a city reckoning with a pandemic, a recession, homelessness, unaffordable housing, increased gun violence and other racial and economic inequalities.”
At last night’s protest somebody threw a Molotov cocktail that set another protester’s shoes and pants on fire.
An antifa protester shot and killed a right-wing counter-protester last month only to be killed himself by police as he resisted attempts to arrest him. The Oregonian issued an editorial today calling for the nightly protest to end.
…the message of the protests these days is more muddled – less about racial justice and more about calls for Mayor Ted Wheeler’s resignation and abolishing police altogether. The calls for Wheeler’s resignation are pointless. Certainly, Wheeler, as police commissioner, needs to own the actions of police and lay out what he and Chief Chuck Lovell are doing now to ensure accountability for officers. But Portlanders across the city will determine his fate in less than nine weeks with the November election.The calls for abolition are similarly unproductive. While the community needs to thoughtfully discuss how to restructure police and examine funding alternate programs, even some of the police bureau’s fiercest critics acknowledge a fundamental need for police to exist. Families of those killed in the spate of record shootings and murders are desperate for police attention to their cases.