Oregon police chief orders review of use of force at protest

Leroy Wright
August 7, 2018

Portland bans loaded firearms in the city without a concealed carry permit or other exemption, and the Portland Police Bureau staged weapon screening locations near the entrance to Tom McCall Waterfront Park. That's it, " Gibson told Portland TV station KGW while walking with demonstrators.

Portland Police say officers deployed pepper spray, rubber balls, stinger rounds and aerial distraction devices after crowds failed to disperse. Following the protest's end, journalist Brendan O'Connor reported Proud Boys members had sprayed bear mace at anti-fascist protesters while driving out of town.

The rally was organised by Patriot Prayer and affiliated group the Proud Boys, in support of Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson who is running as a Republican candidate in November's Senate elections.

This comes as the Washington, D.C., chapter of Black Lives Matter organizes its counter-protest against the "White Civil Rights" rally scheduled for August 12 near the White House. "Our country is getting soft".

A right-wing group and self-described anti-fascist counter-protesters are rallying in Portland, Oregon, as police tried to prevent the gatherings from turning violent as they have before.

Indeed, the police presence remained strong throughout the demonstrations, as bomb-sniffing dogs patrolled and weapons checkpoints were visible.

The Portland Police Bureau stated that, per city code, no person was allowed to possess weapons in a city park.

Police Chief Danielle Outlaw announced the investigation on Sunday after allegations by multiple groups that Portland officers appeared to target counter-protestors more forcefully than rally organizers on Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

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Police also said that any item such as a flag pole or a homemade shield that could be used as a weapon will be confiscated.

Gibson rarely brings more than 100 followers to his rallies-only seven people have now given itemized donations to his Senate campaign-but he has a talent for drawing large counter-protests. "So yeah, I refuse to do that, but I will not stop going in, and I will not stop pushing, and I will not stop marching until the people of Portland realize that and realize that their methods do not work", he said.

The coalition said in a statement Friday that the bloodshed could be worse than previous clashes between the sides if participants carry guns Saturday. It called on officials to denounce what it called "the racist and sexist violence of Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys" and protect the city.

The protest by the Patriot Prayer organization is scheduled for mid-day Saturday at a Portland park and self-described anti-fascist counter-protesters are also rallying.

Patriot Prayer founder and rally organiser Joey Gibson speaks to his followers.

"Patriot Prayer is continuing to commit violence in our city, and their events are becoming more and more violent, " said Effie Baum of Pop Mob, a coalition of community groups organising the counter-demonstration.

"The potent combination of bigotry and violence on the streets of Portland poses a serious threat to community safety, and particularly to residents who are people of color, women and LGBTQ", said a statement from the Western States Centre, signed by around 40 activist groups.

More than a dozen people were arrested during dueling protests in June 2017, when hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump converged downtown for an event billed as a "Trump Free Speech" rally.

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