PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Charlie Hales is both mayor and police commissioner of Portland. As such, it’s his call how the police respond to situations such as Thursday’s protest-turned-riot.
Hales told KOIN 6 News on Friday the Portland Police Bureau’s general approach “is to be there to support and to keep people safe. They did a good job, they were very measured in their approach to a lot of very angry people — and a few violent ones.”
The mayor said they arrested more than 2 dozen people and will likely arrest more.
This is the entire Friday afternoon press conference:
“We are asking citizens to come forward if they have video of somebody taking a baseball bat to a storefront window of a merchant in our city, we would like to see that video and prosecute them. That is a crime.”
Hales said he is working on a plan to help police make that happen.
In a press conference Friday, Hales said the city supports people’s right to protest but the anarchists that hijacked the event committed crimes that were “unacceptable” and not a reflection of Portland’s values.
“As we do with every event in the Rose Quarter, we will take the necessary steps to manage a safe and unimpeded experience for our guests at all times.” — Michael Lewellen, VP Communications
He said this is a safe place and he doesn’t want people to be afraid.
Hales thanked the community members, police and peaceful protesters who helped protect and cleanup the city.
Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman also spoke, saying events like Thursday’s riot take their toll on the police force, but they are thankful to other law enforcement agencies that helped.
Marshman encouraged people who want to organize peaceful protests to get permits and work with police to make it more difficult for anarchists to take over.
He has asked them to take a break from protesting or at least remain stationary to reduce the kind of escalation that happened Thursday.
Micah Rhodes, an organizer for Don’t Shoot Portland and protests this week, said their peaceful protest Thursday night met up with a third group, which consisted of anarchists that had already started damaging property in NE Portland.
His group, Portland’s Resistance, was encouraged not to engage with the anarchists and did not condone the violence and vandalism that was happening.
Rhodes said they aren’t planning a march Friday night, just a rally downtown to discuss where they will go from here. That group is also working to raise money to help with the cleanup.
Marshman estimates the cost of the damage at more than $1 Million, not including the overtime cost to the police bureau.
In response to the current political climate that has led to these protests, Hales said it’s an opportunity for people to come together and get involved.
“We are and I believe, will be a great country, but we are in great pain and I personally am disheartened by the election of Donald Trump,” Hales said. “That doesn’t America is done.”
Portland City Council had several “amazing” hearings this week that included community members speaking about issues they care about, including banning the export of fossil fuels from the city.
Ultimately, Hales and Marshman’s message to Portlanders was not to be afraid. Both emphasized that this is a safe city and they don’t want people to stop living their lives because a small number of people are out committing crimes and fear mongering.