PORTLAND, Ore — After nearly 40 days of nightly protests stemming from the death of George Floyd, Portland's police union is ready for it to be over - specifically the rioting, looting and violence.
"As riots continue, it is obvious to everyone that this is no longer about George Floyd, social justice, or police reform," said Officer Daryl Turner, President of the Portland Police Association, in a statement the union issued Monday. "This is about a group of individuals intent on causing injury, chaos and destruction by rioting, looting, starting fires, throwing rocks, bottles, mortars, urine, and feces at peaceful protestors, as well as the police."
The statement comes after police declared multiple riots over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. On Sunday, Portland police reported 13 people had been arrested overnight, after protesters shot commercial-grade fireworks at the Multnomah County Justice Center and Federal Courthouse, according to a press release.
Police said several windows were broken at the courthouse and fireworks and projectiles got into the building. Early in the evening, police said there was a large, nonviolent group that gathered in Chapman and Lowndale squares, listening to speakers and performers.
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In his statement on Monday, Turner addressed that there is "meaningful dialogue and protests about racial and social equity" occurring right now, and said police officers "are defending those who want to express their voices without violence."
But he called on local and state elected officials to "stand up and defend Portland. Condemn the violence and the burning, looting, and destruction of property."
Turner, who is Black, said that demonstrators' nightly "destructive and chaotic behavior defines the meaning of white privilege; their total disregard for people, property, and the law embodies entitlement."
He asked officials to not allow the non-violent movements "to be drowned out by the sound of rioting and violence." He wants Portlanders to stay "safe and free from rioting, while honoring their First Amendment rights."
He said he is angry at officials for "defending these criminal actions while in the same breath demonizing and vilifying the officers on the front lines protecting our communities, our safety, our livelihood, and our rights."
In the past week, multiple elected officials have spoken out against police tactics during recent protests.
Last Wednesday, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek called police tactics "completely unacceptable" in a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Kotek said police actions did not seem warranted.
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On Friday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown urged the Portland Police Bureau to de-escalate nightly tensions with a group of protesters that she said have “repeatedly taken to the streets with the intent to destroy property," and said the police response has gone too far, the Oregonian reported.
In a Twitter thread on Friday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called for "a full and thorough review of all use of force tactics and meaningful public transparency."
"This cannot continue," said Turner in his statement on Monday. "Do not widen the divide between police and our communities, close it."
Read Turner's full statement here: