Order Rev Nat's Cider Today

Portland Police officers drove SUVs into people on the street last night

Posted by on June 3rd, 2020 at 10:15 am

Screenshot of KGW-TV video shows Portland Police officer plowing through the intersection in an SUV.

After Monday’s peaceful protest, even more people took to the streets last night to march against racism and policy brutality.

While the protest was largely peaceful for many hours, there were several instances of more aggressive actions. Reporters documented the Portland Police firing tear gas and flash-bangs into peaceful crowds indiscriminately, causing shock and horror at the conduct of officers and anger at Mayor Ted Wheeler.

One incident in particular illustrated how the tension in these protests often stems from one central question: Who controls the streets?

We’ve covered the alarming rise in vehicular violence before, but I never thought I’d see it from our own police force.

A KGW-TV camera captured video of people moving road closure barricades at SW 6th and Yamhill adjacent to Pioneer Courthouse Square (see Tweet above). With several people still in the street, the video shows four Portland Police SUVs being driven through the intersection in a reckless manner. It’s unclear what the intention of the officers was, but their dangerous actions could have easily killed or hurt someone.

In a press conference this morning PPB Chief Jami Resch mentioned how someone driving a pick-up truck allegedly reversed into PPB officers. “Thankfully no one was hurt,” she said. But Chief Resch’s tone was much more sterile when it came to her own officers using their vehicles to intimidate protestors.

Advertisement

At the end of her prepared remarks, Chief Resch said, “I will not let the actions of a few individuals intent on causing violence turn this focus on the Portland Police Bureau. A group of individuals broke away from a peaceful protest and marched blocks specifically to encounter PPB members at barricades. The PPB did not instigate the violence that began in our city last night.”

How can we trust that officers will hold aggressive car drivers accountable and adhere to our city’s Vision Zero goals when they use their own vehicles like this?

In a Q & A session Chief Resch said she doesn’t know exactly why officers drove through the intersection but that the incident is under investigation.

Resch also said, “Our officers are doing everything they can within their power to respect and protect peaceful demonstrators.” These statements do no match up with the videos, images, and live reporting from journalists we followed during the protest.

Chief Resch also said every use of force will be reviewed and investigated. We demand a clear explanation from the Chief and Mayor Wheeler about why these officers drove their SUVs in a menacing way toward people in the street.

These efforts to exert power and dominance over protestors on our public streets is absolutely unacceptable. How can we trust that officers will hold aggressive car drivers accountable and adhere to our city’s Vision Zero goals when they use their own vehicles like this? Chief Resch’s blanket denial of responsibility about who instigated the violence sounds like it’s coming from a kid brought into the principal’s office after a schoolyard fight. The PPB must stop pointing fingers. PPB officers are the ones in battle gear. They have all the power. They must resist escalation.

Mayor Wheeler said this morning that he’s ordered a review of police training to “make sure it aligns with our values”. It doesn’t. Aggressively driving an SUV = into an intersection where defenseless Portlanders were standing is completely out of line. We expect immediate changes and reforms to make demonstrations safe for everyone.

“Whose streets? Our streets!”

UPDATE, 1:18 pm: Official PPB statement (in tweet below) says officers believed protestors were about to start a big fire with the barricades.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

108
Leave a Reply

avatar
13 Comment threads
95 Thread replies
2 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
37 Comment authors
BobGlowBoyFactsOverFeelingsAaronChelsea Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Hopefully this underscores for road safety advocates that police are part of the problem, not part of the solution. We can’t rely on cops who speed themselves, on and off-duty, to keep our streets safe. We need to build our road environment to make it impossible to speed because the people who are in charge of enforcing the laws are more than willing to break them up when they feel like it.

It’s time to defund PPB and put that money towards constructive uses. Road work, unarmed community policing, and speed cameras are the future.

Police are not our friends, they are not our advocates. They are organized crime.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Taking away their toys is a huge first step!

LK
Guest
LK

We need to defund and disarm the police. They are the greatest perpetrators of violence in our communities by far. City Council is negotiating a new police contract RIGHT NOW. Contact every member of the city council and tell them we will not abide by the status quo any longer. Defund and disarm.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

No, we just need better police.

I encourage everyone who wants to make a change to apply for those jobs.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Why be a cop when you can get paid the same amount to be a firefighter?

Todd
Guest
Todd

One emerging issue is the long term health impact of exposure to burning plastics and other man made materials that fire fighters are exposed to even with artificial respirators…

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

How often does a firefighter actual fight a fire, on average?

https://www.vox.com/2014/10/30/7079547/fire-firefighter-decline-medical

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Enough to get significant cumulative effects. Firefighters have disturbingly high rates of certain cancers.

Shimran George
Guest
Shimran George

I actually did worked in Fire/EMS as a volunteer long time ago and agree with Chris I. Major Fires are down due to better code/alarms/materials etc., but they burn hotter and are more dangerous when they do go up (especially truss roof designs you’d see in warehouses and places like Costco which are susceptible to quick/sudden collapse).

With all the non-natural stuff in building materials, I wouldn’t be surprised at the higher cancer rates as Todd pointed out. But I think the NFPA attributed 40% of firefighting deaths as being cardiac arrests. These are generally attributed to the unhealthy lifestyle choices (don’t quote me on this–I believe this was the reasoning when I went through training).

https://www.nfpa.org/firefighterfatalities

(NFPA is a good resource on all things firefighting related)

Anyway yes…it’s fairly common knowledge in Emergency Services that if you have any bit of sanity, you’d pick being a firefighter over a cop. More cops shift to being firefighters…I think it rarely occurs the other way. FF job shifts are also more friendly to second jobs, and the IAFF is an incredibly powerful union that no politician wants to cross.

FFs are generally held in higher esteem compared to cops. That being said, you’d be surprised if you think police and fire cultures are all that different, generally speaking.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Good question. I did not know they were paid the same.

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

It takes years to get a full-time job as a firefighter. They are considered plum jobs for people who like physical work, a bit of adrenaline, lots of days off to do a second job, good pay, easy access to disability for the least little reason, and benefits that most people would die for. Until recently, they did not get attacked and villified. Now, not so much.

LK
Guest
LK

You are naive if you think the police can be changed from within. Police culture is rotten to the core, and officers who have tried to change it have been forced out, or worse. Look up Adrian Schoolcraft.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

So what is your alternative? Even Social Democratic countries have armed police.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

At the very least, maybe we can begin to peel away tasks that could be better accomplished by some other means. We train and equip them to engage in all manner of violence, then send them into situations where they’re expected to resolve conflicts, keep the peace, etc.

It’s a little like trying to wash dishes with a hammer.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I believe we’re already starting to do this in Portland; for example there’s the response team in the Central Eastside that provides some level of unarmed response. If that and other programs are successful, they should be expanded.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I agree. Everyone complains about how hard it is for cops because they have to be social workers first and law enforcement officers second.

So let’s see if it’s possible to separate those tasks out, at least some of the time. Maybe we could hire more social workers and fewer cops to do public safety work.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Fire them all and let the lawyers sort it out, kind of like their guidelines in using deadly force.

Steve
Guest
Steve

That’s the alternative. Police systems that don’t brutalize people.

Shimran George
Guest
Shimran George

I think the issue is far more systemic…the Amy Coopers show that police are one part of the equation, and police are often thrust into certain situation by individuals expecting a certain type of response.

My very segregated hometown back in NY, I can’t tell you how times there were 911 calls for a “suspicious person in the neighborhood” (what do you think that was code for?)

I’m not excusing any bad police behavior, but we need to look at all players in the situation as simply looking at the issue too myopically, i.e. let’s see the systemic racism through the whole chain of events: the police who respond, the criminal justice system (i.e. prosecutors/judges), the jail system/rehabilitation, the politicians, and even the common citizen who call police on minorities for specious reasons.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I agree, and although there was disagreement with me in last week’s thread about racism, I stand by my statement that calls from common white citizens play a big role in police treatment of nonwhite citizens.

qqq
Guest
qqq

I heard from someone who did apply that the fact that they’d acknowledged buying a legal pot edible from a legal pot shop was going to be an issue–perhaps disqualifying. I don’t know if that’s true, or maybe was but isn’t anymore. Maybe it’s true and people who did get accepted either lied or they don’t use pot products.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

The qualifications and filters for becoming an officer are nonsensical. I have a family member who tried out for a police force here in MN (one which is considerably more progressive than MPD, by the way) and was rejected because a personality test indicated “insufficient respect for figures of authority.”

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Actually, that makes a lot of sense. Of course they wouldn’t want independent thinkers.

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

MPD is considered one of the most progressive departments in the country, including a Chief who is Hispanic/Black. This fact has been missed in most media reports.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Yes our current chief is nonwhite, and our previous one was female. But have you heard what’s in their manual? If that’s considered progressive, that is truly disturbing.

I know individual experiences are anecdotal, but my personal experience meeting and conversing with MPD officers is they are a lot more retrograde than Saint Paul officers, and also more so than the PPB officers I’ve met. On two yardsticks I’ve often used in the past that are highly relevant to this website, MPD officers almost universally seem to regard bikes and pedestrians as a nuisance they wish would go away; and they regard anything to do with vehicular behavior (including outright reckless driving, which I see a lot more of here more than in Portland) as less important than fighting “real crimes,” despite the fact that cars kill far more Minneapolitans (and Portlanders, and Saint Paulites) than do guns.

Portland officers seem to be a more mixed bunch on these two issues, with too many still stuck in the dark ages and some now “getting it,” but I’ve never heard of an MPD officer who cares about safety of pedestrians or cyclists at all. Contrarily, Saint Paul officers do seem to “get it” on these issues, so there is hope.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

You can apply, but decent people get rejected for PPB all the time. Comments like yours always assume that good people don’t want to be cops. Good people are either rejected outright or quit after working in a completely toxic, racist environment for a few years.

An organization that is rotten from the top down needs to be destroyed, not reformed.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

So what creates the culture? Life experience or the organization?

This is purely anecdotal, but one of my college buddies (a super nice guy and a POC) became a Chicago cop. He did it for about a dozen years before he realized the daily things he saw were changing him for the worse. It was dealing with the worst parts of society that were changing him as a person, so he got out and became a nurse.

I am sure there is an ingrained culture, but I also believe that dealing with criminals every day has an impact as well on the human being acting as a cop and that also creates the culture.

There are few garbage men who smell nice at the end of the day, even though they are providing a public service.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’ve been told that when everyone you talk to lies to your face, and some proportion try to hurt or even kill you, it does indeed take a toll.

It’s not at all surprising to me that cops have a culture of protecting one another, and it’s hard for me to imagine that a new force with new people wouldn’t end up in the same place pretty soon. It’s a human dynamic that happens everywhere.

LK
Guest
LK

It does not happen everywhere. Not every developed country in the world has the same incredibly rotten police culture that we have here.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Why do you think the cops don’t stand by one another elsewhere to the same degree they do here?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

A number of years ago I served on the Multnomah County Grand Jury for a month – and the one that dealt with murders, rape, child sexual assault, etc. It was really eye-opening.

There are some real bad people out there and the cops have to deal with them daily. There is no way that job does not grind a person down and I suspect the main coping mechanism they have in order to do the job and not be an emotional wreck is to lose part of their humanity in the process and act like an automaton.

I would really like for every police critic to tag along for a patrol to see what the cops deal with on a daily basis, if only to have a better perspective.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Everywhere? Why are there police forces in other countries that don’t brutalize people like police in the US do?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The places I think of as having better policing (though it’s hard to judge from afar) have a much more homogeneous population, and the places with similar issues to ours do policing a lot worse.

Do you know any examples of excellence in policing in societies with the same sorts of underlying social issues we have?

Chelsea
Guest
Chelsea

What first world country has anywhere near the police violence that we do? The UK? Canada? Australia? None of these countries have homogenous populations.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

We had a Portland cop at a neighborhood meeting a few years ago, who told us there are basically two types of people in his world: Victims and Perpetrators.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Oh sure, I’m sure the job is terrible. The current crop is rotten regardless of the reason. I’m sure it’s a little bit of A, little bit of B type situation.

Starting anew and doing it right is the only solution.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

I did exactly just that. I applied, got hired, and went through absolute hell for 18 months until I pulled the plug. The community policing rhetoric you here from the top brass does not translate to the patrol officers. There are a lot of good cops, but so many that are jaded, feel trapped because of how their pension is funded, have absolute disdain for Portland city government, are overworked, and generally stressed out to the max. I thought I could have been part of a new wave of police officers to help create change, I was wrong. I wouldn’t wish the job upon anyone with the way the current culture is. I’m now part of the carpenter union and my life is a 1000, million times better!!!!

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Thanks for sharing your experience! I too get the impression that the job is incredibly frustrating for the good cops; not only do they have a difficult job anyway, but doing it right all too often goes against their internal culture and policies.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The police are the greatest perpetrators of violence in our communities by far.

I would love to see a source for your data. If true, I would find it astonishing.

JeffP
Guest
JeffP

Poorly worded title IMO.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

“defenseless Portlanders”. Oh please.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

Ever tried “defending” yourself against an accelerating SUV without a steel cage of your own to protect you?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Toby is known to open-carry RPGs. It’s pretty crazy out there in east Portland.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Apparently Portlanders aren’t really that defenseless, because they carry umbrellas. Oh wait, those are tourists …

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

The cops doing their job and the “media” second guessing every action. So let’s see, individuals in hoods on a summer night….that’s not a question… individuals moving barricades around…that’s not a question…but police keeping the riff Raff from creating a possible lot barricade…that’s the real problem.

Ok bike Portland.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

Ok Mark.

What “job” required these police to use the element of surprise in combination with an unprovoked threat of death? I mean, what were they trying to accomplish that could justify such extreme tactics? And how is that not a question for you?

I think your use of “riff raff” says a lot. You’re peering out at the world through some tired ass old glasses; time to check your prescription?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

So you believe the above situation was an appropriate use of deadly force? What was the imminent threat to public safety?

LK
Guest
LK

It’s not a crime to wear a hoodie. It is not legally or morally justifiable for a cop to try and run someone over for wearing a hoodie. Nor is it legally or morally justifiable for a cop to try and run someone over for moving a barricade around.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I did not see anyone “try and run someone over” in that video. I saw a police vehicle crashing through a barrier. I might have also seen the police try to intimidate the barricade builders using their vehicle, but it’s hard to be sure. Without additional context, I can’t say whether I think those actions were justified or not.

So I guess I agree with your statement as it is written.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Driving a car at high speed towards a crowd of people, let alone one person, is very much a non-standard way of engaging in law enforcement. Context? Do you think there’s a chance that hitting those people could’ve not only resulted in them not being hurt, but also ended world starvation and caused free bikes to descend from the sky for all people on earth? What context do you need?!

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

They may not have been overtly “trying to run someone over”, but they sure as hell weren’t trying very hard not to.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

I believe they easily could have run someone over if they were really trying.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

I believe they easily could have run someone over even if they weren’t really trying. I’d like to set the bar a little higher than “I wasn’t trying to run you over when I aimed my car at you and accelerated.”

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

KGW reported this evening that the incident is under investigation. Hopefully that will bring additional context to light.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

This is why we have cops who make the actual hard decisons in grey areas. They did the right thing to he’s off whatever the hoodie kids were doing. Which whatever they were doing. Wasn’t good.

qqq
Guest
qqq

You forgot to add that many protesters (“riff Raff”) were wearing masks.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

And if they aren’t wearing masks, then Covid is a liberal conspiracy.

Jay Dedd
Guest
Jay Dedd

No, that’s a complete non sequitur. You can do better if you try. This is closer: If they aren’t wearing masks, they are careless — but their cause is no less valid.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

But I heard it on Infowars.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Thank God you put down the no mask freedom fighter mantle…
Now you’re just under freedom fighter…

The fact that you’re linking protesters to people who are causing damage to public areas,
People who are barricading public areas..

How far bike Portland has fallen.

Jay Dedd
Guest
Jay Dedd

Complete non sequitur. You can do better if you try. Mask status neither subtracts from nor adds to the topic of the protest. (Otherwise, please connect the dots.) This is closer: If they aren’t wearing masks, then they are careless about Covid.

J_R
Guest
J_R

One of the things we always hear is that police work is dangerous. Fact is, there are lots of occupations that have MUCH higher mortality rates than patrol officers. We all know about loggers, fishers, roofers, and steel workers. But some of the others with higher mortality rates include refuse/recycling collectors, grounds maintenance workers, miscellaneous agricultural workers and truck drivers. Lots of those workers are paid far less than patrol officers. Do a search on fatality rates by occupation or something similar.

I know some retired cops and it’s not a job I’d want, but the danger aspect, which often seems to be used as an justification for bad behavior, is overstated. They should be well compensated and well trained, but they should be held to a higher standard than they have been historically.

Erin
Guest
Erin

They absolutely should be held to a higher standard. But just as we know that with biking perceived safety is as important as real safety, cops also have a lot more fear of being hurt or killed on the job, a much greater sense of perceived danger than other professions. Now, part of that is that they/their idiotic macho culture is constantly escalating situations rather than de-escalating them, but I think it would be a mistake to downplay the risks cops take and feel they take every day.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Those are fundamentally different jobs and the perils come from different sources.

mran1984
Guest

Hey, did YOU figure out who shot Mike yet?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The PPB hasn’t, and they won’t.

Maria
Guest
Maria

Ok, so intent to build a fire out of barricades makes it ok for police to attempt to murder humans with their motor vehicles.

Yes, we want to know who controls the streets. More than that we want to know WHO CONTROLS THE POLICE? If I were in control, any officer committing any violence on unarmed civilians would be not just fired, but fined a huge amount of money.

We’re in a liberal, progressive city and this is happening. Imagine in other places. It is a very scary reality to be an American right now.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Well, YOU control the police if YOU voted for Ted Wheeler. And with his big money donors from real estate, YOU have a very good chance of being in control of the police once again.

Kcommentee
Guest
Kcommentee

The ability to fire, fine, or do any other sort of punishment appears to be largely controlled by the Police Unions and the contracts they demand. I’m pro-union but it seems that police unions are so intent on protecting their members that they’ve have totally done away with accountability for even the worst among them. Disbanding police unions would be a good first (of many needed) step(s).

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

In cases where police misconduct rises to criminal wrongdoing, a prosecutor can press charges without input from the union.

One of the purposes of a union is to protect its members against unwarranted discipline from managers. Of course, the definition of “unwarranted” differs depending on whether you are in or out of the union. Rather than bust the union, we can change the contract, which, if I am not mistaken, the city and police are bargaining over at the moment.

If you want managers to have a freer hand with discipline, contact council and the mayor and tell them not to sign another contract that ties management’s hands.

This is a great opportunity to exercise your political oversight over your government.

Fat Tire
Guest
Fat Tire

We have militarized our police force over the last 20 plus years. The police have surplus military equipment, and along with it the mindset of a soldier. All too often they fail to protect peoples rights, but will eagerly annihilate whatever problem they encounter. The police should not be like the military, their missions are not the same. We need new police training. The police are trained to escalate, escalate, escalate. The result is the unacceptable, commonplace, police brutality we see nationwide. Time to clean out the police academy and start over. I heard Jo Ann Hardesty on the radio this week and she made some similar points in calling for reform. It’s going to be a process, not an overnight change that gets us where we want to be.

Kittens
Guest
Kittens

The police are only now reaping what decades of arrogant, entitled, negative interactions with the public have sown.

#cancelpolice

Time for something better.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

I had a thought today. For years we’ve heard people say that riding a bike (to work, stores, etc) feels *too dangerous,* that safety was a prime reason many folks get around by car.
I wonder how many of the same people are overcoming fear of personal risk by going to protests where draconian tactics like rubber bullets are being used.
Importantly, I’m not criticizing people who go to protests, on the contrary I applaud everyone who does. It’s just something interesting to consider.

FactsOverFeelings
Guest
FactsOverFeelings

The officer looked pretty in control in avoiding and stopping, making sure not to hit anyone and to take down what appears in this video to be people putting up blockades. Also the term “Mostly Peaceful” is meaning that there was non peaceful things going on and causing police to be on high alert. “Mostly Peaceful” is something that can be said about everything. The 2017 Vegas Shoot was “Mostly Peaceful” till someone started shoot out of a hotel window.

Bob
Guest
Bob

The headline is mis leading, they didn’t drive SUVs into anyone. They spead through an area that should have never been that way to begin with. If you don’t want to get hit , don’t illegally be blocking the road to begin with… oh … and there is that Curfew thing that everyone is ignoring. If you are not out there to begin with, you wont have that issue. Go cops