As riots continue, it is obvious to everyone that this is no longer about George Floyd, social justice, or police reform. 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. These violent criminal acts have gone on for almost 40 days nonstop, while the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau and its partner agencies have shown amazing restraint in the face of the most divisive time this country has seen in modern history. The nightly news, social media, and livestream broadcasts of these riots have saturated our eyes and ears, sowing discontent while we are all still facing the worse pandemic in decades.
These rioters come out nightly armed with weapons and a plan to cause as much destruction as possible. Whatever names they give themselves, whatever their goals may be, it is clear they have drawn attention away from an important message about social and racial equity that needs to be heard. They have taken away from a message that could transcend this country’s history forever. Their destructive and chaotic behavior defines the meaning of white privilege; their total disregard for people, property, and the law embodies entitlement.
What angers me and the good people of Portland, even more, is that elected officials at the state and local levels are 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. Police are defending the property of business owners whose livelihoods are at stake while these criminals loot and burn their businesses. Police are defending government buildings that will be the meeting places where reforms at all levels of government will take place. Police are defending those who want to express their voices without violence.
It is time for our elected officials to stand up and defend Portland. Condemn the violence and the burning, looting, and destruction of property. Trust and support the decisions made by law enforcement leaders who simply want to keep the residents, business owners, and peaceful protestors safe. Understand that it is a sign of strength, not weakness, to support the rank-and-file officers who are out on the front lines being assaulted, taking verbal and physical abuse, and working endless hours without rest.
This cannot continue. Our elected officials owe it to all of Portland to do their jobs. Do not widen the divide between police and our communities, close it. Do not allow the meaningful dialogue and protests about racial and social equity to be drowned out by the sound of rioting and violence. Keep Portlanders safe and free from rioting, while honoring their First Amendment rights. Support police leadership. Support officers. Tell those who are intent on burning and looting our great City that they are not welcome here. Put Portland first.
Daryl Turner, President
Portland Police Association
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