PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw defended her officers against criticism that they didn’t take action and let protestors brawl and get bloodied in the middle of downtown streets Saturday:
“I want to be very clear, the mayor has not handcuffed us,” Outlaw said. “the officers have been called cowards, or there is a perception is that ran away from confrontation and that couldn’t be the furthest from the truth.”
Outlaw is angry the public seems more upset about how officers responded rather than the event itself. But she says officers will only intervene if they can do it safely for themselves as well in a crowd and not further inflame the situation.
She said what’s needed is the ordinance turned down by the city council that would have required restrictions on where and when protestors gather.
She also says there are laws in other states that are needed here as well.
“In other states, you’ll see it’s illegal to wear a mask during a commission of a crime,” Outlaw said. “I understand and we solely support, whole-heartedly support individuals first amendment rights to free speech but we cannot allow to continue to allow people to use the guise of free speech to commit crime.”
Outlaw believes it’s getting tougher to handle the violence when several nearby police agencies have decided not to help Portland handle these protests.