Outlaw: Police 'thrust into middle of politcal arena'
Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw says in a podcast released Thursday, Aug. 8, that local officers will work to prevent clashes during a planned mid-August downtown rally by several opposing political groups.
Speaking on the police bureau's "Talking Beat" podcast, Outlaw said law enforcement has been criticized for how it handled past protests. In some cases, she said, the bureau has been slammed for not being aggressive and preventing similar rallies from devolving into running fistfights. In other cases, it has been blasted for taking harsh measures to break up fights and arrest troublemakers.
Outlaw says officers "focus on behavior" not on ideology during the city's many rallies and marches. "We've been unjustly thrust into the middle of a political arena," she says.
"I don't want for one minute anyone to think that because we're being thrust into this political show, that I or the public have lost confidence in (police officers') ability to do what we do. I believe that the Portland Police Bureau shares the values of our community. I want to reassure our community that we have their best interests at heart. And we're doing what we can to assure that our city is safe for all of us."
Outlaw and Mayor Ted Wheeler told reporters Tuesday, Aug. 6, that police would take a tougher approach to any violent activity during an Aug. 17 rally in Tom McCall Waterfront Park by conservative groups like Proud Boys, Oathkeepers and III Percenters. Members of the anti-fascist movement, sometimes called Antifa, plan a counter demonstration. The two sides have clashed several times during past demonstrations.
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