Portland City Council voted on Wednesday to accept a police reform report that equates tear gas used to screen protesters with “chemical weapons” and calls on police not to use heavy protective clothing when confronts unruly protesters.
According to the report of the Citizen Review Committee’s Crowd Control and Use of Force Task Force, it is recommended that the Portland Police Office “make the current ban on the use of CS gas by the PPB permanent and extends it to other chemical weapons used in crowd management. “
Amid several violent protests last year, officers were forced to deploy CS, one of the most commonly used tear gas, in an attempt to disperse crowds and maintain order. As a result of these cases, Mayor Ted Wheeler banned the use of tear gas by police.
The report also calls for the creation of a plan “to mitigate risks to public health and the environment from the use of chemical weapons”.
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The report went on to insist that officers should “adopt” soft clothing “for the protest reaction” instead of riot gear, which may “suggest expectations of violence or combat when attend or respond to events where violence did not occur.
Another recommendation was that officers “stop using weapons that target groups rather than individuals, when largely peaceful crowds are present” and “avoid force as an act of escalation.”
City council member Mingus Mapps told the meeting that he was struggling to try to understand what situations would warrant allowing officers to wear riot gear.
“I’m curious if you look at the number of police officers who have been injured in these protests,” Mapps said, according to KOIN 6 News. “I don’t have this data in front of me for the city police, but the federal government says that 144 federal agents who were in riot gear were injured. So one of the things I’m trying to figure out is , that’s what situations do we have them in protective clothing. “
The recommendations were “based on a thorough analysis of community feedback, discussions with PPB leaders and a review of existing policies, established best practices and legal standards,” according to the report.
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The report also claimed that there was an apparent bias in favor of right-wing groups and against protesters of color and the press, and called for “comprehensive training on cultural diversity and anti-racism endorsed by the members of vulnerable communities “.
“The city of Portland agreeing that more than 100 days of violence and riots on its streets were the fault of the police is an insulting attempt to lay the blame on the only people who can protect the Portlanders,” Stan Pulliam, a Republican candidate for governor. in Oregon, Fox News said. “Law enforcement officers must already quit their jobs in a city that no longer respects the rule of law.”
While city council voted to accept the report, no action was taken on the recommendations.
“To say that the police are responsible for the violence is to take political madness to the next level,” Pulliam added.
Fox News has contacted Portland council members and the city’s auditor’s office for comment, but there was no immediate response.