A slideshow intended to educate officers in Portland, Oregon on police crackdown techniques ended with a message noting the use of violence against demonstrators, suggesting they would eventually be “sewn up and bandaged,” according to reports released by the city on Friday.
The image was included at the end of a 110-slide training session, apparently from 2018, which detailed the types of protests officers might face, as well as analyzing crowd behavior and police tactics that could be used to maintain order. The final slide featured a meme that mocked the protesters as dirty hippies, noting that officers could “baptize your heads with hickory and pepper spray your faces.”
It showed a police officer in riot gear beating a protester.
The office of Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is the police commissioner, released the document Friday, saying it came as part of a lawsuit related to the racial justice protests that swept the city in 2020. Mr Wheeler said he was “disgusted by the slide that taunted the protesters and that an investigation had been launched.
“The Portland Police Department must reject the malicious and divisive attitude expressed on this slide,” he said.
Chuck Lovell, who became chief of police in 2020, said the message in the presentation “is not from the Portland Police Department and is disappointing to all of us who work so hard to earn the trust of the public.”
The police department documented that it used force more than 6,000 times during the protests, prompting a rebuke from federal officials who deemed the city in violation of a previous settlement agreement.
Wheeler’s office said that while the document appears to have been created in 2018, it remains unclear when the slide was added to the study materials and by whom. His office said they were not sure if it was used during training.
The police department has long had a confrontational relationship with protesters in Portland, and those tensions escalated during the racial justice demonstrations that followed the 2020 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
When some people in the crowd broke windows or lit fires, police often responded by flooding the streets with tear gas and knocking protesters to the ground. The city has faced a series of lawsuits over the use of tear gas, as well as isolated instances of excessive use of force, including a recent $100,000 settlement with a protester who said cops tried to take the sign from him before spraying him in the face and throw to the ground. land.
Understand the protests in Portland
Year of protests. The demonstrations that swept the country after the death of George Floyd in 2020 continued for most of the year in Portland, Oregon. What began as a call for police accountability and racial justice has evolved into a complex mobilization punctuated at times by riots and destruction.
Teressa Rayford, executive director of activist organization Don’t Shoot Portland, said the training materials didn’t surprise her, but she was glad it was now available for the public to see. She said the attacks described in the meme were things protesters in Portland have been witnessing for years.
“I saw it. I felt it. I experienced it,” Ms Raiford said.
Ms Rayford said she wants the Department of Justice to investigate the Portland Police Department for tactics, bias and links between officers and white nationalist organizations. Federal agents played their part during the protests, violently clashing with demonstrators in front of the downtown U.S. Courthouse; FBI agents were then sent in the following months to monitor the crowd.
The Portland slideshow incorporates various strategies and means of containing protests, including an “escalation of force” model in which officers confront demonstrators. The presentation also details a “negotiated management” model, which details how officers can be friendly by maintaining open communication with protest organizers and hiding riot control teams. The slideshow notes that the negotiation model “does not work with anarchists or radical groups who refuse to negotiate with the police.”
In 2021, after nearly a year of unrest following the killing of Mr Floyd, which included regular demonstrations that resulted in broken windows in everything from cafes to the boys and girls club, the city took drastic action.
At the time, Mr. Wheeler said he wanted to “expose” those demonstrators who had repeatedly committed acts of vandalism or arson, saying it was time to “do some damage to them.”