Oregon Gov. Brown: Stop all protest violence
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called for an end to all forms of violent at Portland protest during a Friday press conference — including arsons, violence against property and person-to-person violence.
Brown also said everyone who commits acts of violence must be held accountable, including police who assault peaceful protesters and members of antifa, the loosely knit left-wing collective that has been accused of attacking police officers and law enforcement buildings.
The Sept. 4 press conference was scheduled before reported antifa supporter Michael Reinoehl was killed by law enforcement officials trying to arrest him for the shooting death of Patriot Prayer member Aaron "Jay" Danielson on Saturday, Aug. 29, following clashes between Trump supporters and counter-protesters in downtown Portland. The deaths have sparked fears that both sides will retaliate against the other with more violence.
"Our country's worst moments have been defined by fear and hatred, and our greatest moments are defined by peace and understanding and justice. The only way through this is if we work together. That's true of racial justice and its certainly true of the pandemic we have now been facing for the past six months," Brown said on Friday, Sept. 4.
After releasing her Unified Law Enforcement Plan to end the violence and protect free speech on Aug. 30, however, several of the law enforcement agencies Brown called upon declined her request for assistance.
When asked why those agencies were not involved more in the planning process before the plan was released, Brown said "Superintendent Hampton did reach out to local law enforcement and community sheriffs before we released the plan," referring to Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton.
Her statement contradicts what all three agencies have said via press releases: that they did not know about the request until Brown released her plan.
"But this is an all-hands-on-deck moment and I think we would all agree that we need to work collectively to stop the violence in Portland," Brown went onto say. "And I am incredibly grateful for the efforts of the Portland Police Bureau and the Oregon State Police and at the same time I appreciate the way other jurisdictions, including Washington and Clackamas county, continue to help out by providing coverage to fill in for OSP."
During the press conference, the governor was asked why she has not called in the National Guard to help disperse the violence in Portland — even after Portland Mayor Wheeler reportedly asked her to.
"To be very, very clear, the mayor asked for assistance from the National Guard several weeks — perhaps months ago, and there were multiple reasons at the time why I rejected that request," she said. "In addition, we know that other states — I talked to Gov. (Tim) Walz in Minnesota, who used the national guard for a very limited period of time. In terms of Oregon, I'm relying on our trained law enforcement, Superintendent Travis Hampton, the Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell.
"Superintendent Hampton would say that A: we do not need the National Guard at this time and B: they are not trained for this work. What we need now is trained law enforcement and that's why I created the law enforcement plan to bring both local and state officials together behind a plan to keep people safe and to protect free speech rights."
Brown added: "The protests in support of racial equity and police accountability began many weeks ago — 100 days ago. … During this period, state elected leaders have attempted to rise to that call."
She went onto list the various bills enacted by the Legislature in recent months that aim to hold the police to higher standards along with measures put into place in an effort to promote societal and economic equity among Black people and other minorities.
"I, too, am angry that Black and brown Oregonians continue to fear for their lives and their families. These accomplishments are just a start, but it is progress in a relatively short period of time," she said. "I and other elected leaders need to continue to be held accountable for reducing the health disparities in our state and in our society. We have to create the space for healing and conversation so we can achieve racial justice."
KOIN 6 News contributed to this story. Their story can be found here.
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