Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell released a statement on Tuesday, calling on elected officials to “do their part to draw a line in the sand and hold people accountable.”
Lovell’s statement came after another night of riots in the city, in which protesters threw burning newspapers at a storefront on the bottom of the mayor’s apartment building.
Lovell didn’t specify who he meant, but the local district attorney has been criticized for not prosecuting low-level offenders arrested at the protests.
Protests have been held nightly in the city since the police killing of Black man George Floyd in Minnesota at the end of May.
Portland’s police chief called out local politicians after another night of riots in the city.
On Tuesday, Police Chief Chuck Lovell released a statement, saying “our elected officials need to do their part to draw a line in the sand and to hold people accountable.”
Protests in the city have repeatedly turned violent, and on Monday the unrest was formally declared a riot, giving police expanded powers to control it.
“The violent behavior must end,” Lovell said in his statement.
Lovell didn’t specify which elected officials he meant.
However, The Oregonian newspaper reported that the Multnomah County district attorney has drawn criticism for saying his office would not prosecute certain low-level offenders arrested at the Portland protests, which have been taking place nightly since the end of May.
In response to Lovell’s statement, District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s office released a statement saying they are “focusing on the violent crimes occurring at protests and in our community,” which they said was a deicision taken to prioritize public safety.
Insider contacted the Portland Police Bureau for clarification on which elected officials Lovell meant, but did not immediately receive a response.
The protests began in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, but have morphed into a larger movement with anti-government sentiments after President Donald Trump sent federal agents to the city in July.
Lovell’s statement was released after more than 200 protesters Monday night gathered outside Mayor Ted Wheeler’s apartment building, calling for his resignation, according to The Oregonian.
The protest was declared a riot after people in the crowd started a fire and started throwing burning newspapers into a storefront at the bottom of the apartment building. The fire was quickly put out.
Portland Police arrested 19 people at the riot Monday night. An Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter shared a video of a police officer tackling one protester to the ground and proceeding to punch him.
Lovell did not address the video in his statement, but Mayor Wheeler mentioned it in a Tuesday Facebook post.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community. This is what we’re all supposed to be fighting for.
“But last night saw more senseless violence in Portland. Another minority-owned, local business was destroyed by a violent group of individuals. A police officer was filmed repeatedly striking an individual at a protest. Even the building where I live, along with dozens of other families, was violently attacked.
“These acts range from stupid, to dangerous, to criminal. The violence must stop. None of this should sit well with any thinking Portlander,” Wheeler’s statement read.
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