“Prompt steps need to be taken by the city and community partners to address the situation and enhance the safety of the public and city employees, including my officers,” begged Police Chief Frank Clark in a press release issued late this morning.
Regretably, there was no reference to the Department’s responsibility for the health and safety of everyone in the city – that includes the campers at city hall – not just city employees and police officers as he states in the press release. Campers are unarmed, unlike police officers who daily patrol city hall plaza looking for violations there to exploit – to their benefit – usually trying to intimidate campers into leaving the plaza on their own according to sources at the camp. That wishful thinking has backfired so far. Campers are staying in place. They are determined to have their list of demands met – that includes defunding the Portland Police Department. Public supporters are growing in number every day.
The occasion for the press release that was full of unsubstantiated and undocumented charges, was a drive by shooting that occurred this morning at 5:00 am. No one was hurt in the incident, fortunately. And no evidence was offered that the shooter was in anyway associated with the campers at city hall plaza. In fact, the drive by shooter was not associated with the Campers in any way. But let’s make the campers guilty by association. That should work.
Back on June 23, 2020, the Portland Press Herald, the city’s mouth piece, printed an article on the conduct of the Portland Police Department during a June 1st Black Lives Matter rally downtown. It was a peaceful protest that turned violent. There were arrests made. The Police Chief himself admitted that his department was unprepared for the size of the BLM protest. Several city councilors called for an independent investigation of the Department. That idea was quickly shutdown by the majority of councilors. The results might be too embarrassing for the City to deal with. Give the Chief a break – he’s new on the job! Jennings hand-picked him from South Portland where Jennings once served as assistant manager.
The homeless encampment at city hall plaza likewise has grown amazingly as more homeless join the safe place and more and more volunteers become involved out of concern for the growing homeless population in Portland. The city of Portland and the Chief of the Police Department are likewise unprepared for the size of this camp and its growing concern by the public. There’s a pattern emerging here. What to do? Arrest the campers?
Blame the victims – it might work – especially with outstanding, undocumented charges against them. (MHN.com was told in emails from the Police Department spokesman to go to the courthouse to pick up the backup material to prove its voluminous and undocumented charges against the protesters. However, the press release was issued on Saturday morning – courthouses are closed on Saturday, mhn. reminded him several times in emails exchanged between us).
Maybe Jennings will call in Trumpy’s Troopers to handle the situation since Portland can’t.
Note: At his induction ceremony last September at Merrill Auditorium Rehearsal Hall, mhn.com asked Chief Clark to ask his officers to treat little old bag ladies who wear tennis shoes. carry no weapons, never smoked pot and have no police record with gray hair, with respect after describing one of the multiple experiences I had to him. “He was just having a bad day,” was Chief Clark’s response to mhn.com. Maybe the Police Officers who patrol sometimes twice daily city hall plaza are having a lot of bad days because protesters are calling for defunding the Portland Police Department. It’s easier to be threatening (with arrest and jail time) to a little old bag lady who wears tennis shoes, has gray hair, carries no weapons and has no police record. And has no recourse! Because she’s only a little old bag lady who wears tennis shoes, never smoked pot, ………no recourse.