PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Police and Mayor Charlie Hales addressed the response to the violent protests that flooded Portland on Friday night.
In their second press conference in as many days, the mayor and Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman spoke about the damage caused by protests that got out of hand in downtown Portland.
The nature of the protest changed Friday night from the peaceful protest to criminal activities.
“I don’t think they’re out there to protest. I think the’re out there to battle the police,” Marshman said. “We’re taking rocks and bottles and flares.”
Hales encouraged people to find other ways to vent their frustrations about the election results because the past several days have shown that peaceful protests are easily taken over by splinter groups that turn things violent.
He suggested getting involved with advocacy groups like the ACLU, Basic Rights Oregon, 350 PDX or Planned Parenthood.
Law enforcement officers from other agencies in the metro area have been called in to help Portland Police. Marshman said they have limited resources at PPB and the long days take their toll on officers.
“They were confronted with real provocation and they met it with appropriate force,” Hales said. “Yes they had to use distraction devices, yes they had to use tear gas — those were the right things to do when thy were having rocks and bottles thrown at them.”
Marshman said the police force did not guide the march, just followed where the crowd went and worked to contain the unlawful assembly.
Again Hales encouraged people to get out an enjoy their city and be part of the community just as they would any other night.
“I’m really heartsick that our local small businesses who had no culpability in what happened in this election, far from it, have been harmed by people that just wanted to exploit the protest to raise hell. I’m really sorry that that’s happened,” Hales said.
If protests erupt again Saturday night, the Portland Police Bureau is prepared to respond accordingly and “use what’s appropriate,” if things are no longer peaceful.