PORTLAND, Ore. — Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, penned a letter to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Friday about the protests in front of the East Precinct over the past two nights.
The strongly worded letter accuses Wheeler, who is the police commissioner, and Schmidt of not caring about officers' well-being.
On Thursday night, two elderly women were seen in the throng of the protests. One had paint dumped on her and another attempted to put out a fire and was stopped by someone dressed in all black.
Turner addressed these women in his letter:
The first, armed only with a walker, a fire extinguisher, and a homemade BLM poster, tried to put out a fire last night in front of East Precinct. In return, she endured harassment and assault from rioters.
Turner’s letter calls protesters rioters and states that their only mission is to cause chaos and destruction. He said Mayor Wheeler’s directive is “reckless” and that he is “handcuffing” police to act only after violence and crimes have taken place.
“Our city is filled with violence,” Turner’s letter continues. However, the violence remains contained to just a few blocks downtown and in the Southeast quadrant, where the East Precinct is located.
To DA Schmidt, Turner wrote in part:
You ran on a platform of police accountability, which was a thinly veiled threat to indict police officers. What about indicting rioters who loot, burn, destroy, and assault?
On Thursday night at the East Precinct, police recovered a loaded handgun and Turner's letter mentions the other items that have been used as projectiles thrown at officers over the past 70 days of protests.
Neighbors in the area of the East Precinct are also concerned about the protesters. Danny Damron, a resident, said he tried to confront the protesters.
“We confronted them and said, ‘Please don't be in our neighborhood, we don't want you here,'" said Damron. "They wouldn't listen to us. I'm 72. They're big. What can I do?”
Damron said he thinks there is a problem with racial inequity in Portland and he wants things to change, but doesn’t believe violence is the answer.
“Get people in the Black community up to the economy that I enjoy as a white man,” said Damron. “We need to bring that up and respect that community. And I've never seen that in the 30-some years I've lived here.”
Up until about a week ago, the clashes between protesters and police were occurring out front of the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown. Only recently has a group of about 200 people started gathering out in front of the East Precinct. In the previous two evenings, police have arrested over 20 people.
Mayor Wheeler condemned the violence perpetrated by protesters in front of the East Precinct but has made no mention of changing PPB’s response to the protesting.
You can read Turner’s entire letter here: