PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -- Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese has declined to offer sheriff’s office assistance with crowd control at planned rallies in Portland on Saturday.
In an email to Deputy Chief Chris Davis of the Portland Police Bureau, Reese acknowledge a request for the MCSO Rapid Response Team and Mobile Booking Team to support the bureau Saturday.
The far-right group Proud Boys have a rally planned for noon at Delta Park, even though the city denied a permit for the gathering based on COVID-19 health guidelines. Anti-fascist counter protesters are planning a separate rally at Peninsula Park, about three miles away.
In his email, Reese wrote that the two groups “have a history of violent interactions.”
Reese stated that the ban on the use of CS gas by Portland police officers leaves the bureau “with no sound tactical options to quickly disperse a large crowd engaged in dangerous acts of violence.”
“If officers have to use high levels of physical force to protect the safety of the participants, it may lead to substantial injuries and may not be effective in achieving the desired outcome,” Reese stated in his email.
Earlier this month, Mayor Ted Wheeler ordered the Portland Police Bureau to stop using tear gas for crowd control, as Portland was in the midst of more than 100 straight days of protests that often turned into riots.
“Unfortunately, given the directions your team is working under, our Rapid Response Team is not available,” Reese said.
Reese did offer the support of the Mobile Booking Team to assist in processing people arrested, while also assisting with patrol duties in east Portland, which will free up additional Portland police officers for crowd control at the rallies.
In a separate email from Oregon State Police to Davis, it states OSP has "some serious reservations on your request relating to crowd control," specifically addressing the ban on CS gas.
OSP acknowledges the ban is "due to circumstances beyond the control of PPB."
"If the decision (to) amend the CS gas prohibition is revisited, we are willing to discuss resource allocation. OSP has used CS gas judiciously, although it is a tool we must have available for community safety, officer safety and best policing practices," according to OSP.
OSP has offered uniformed patrol coverage to assist PPB on Saturday, as well as resources to aid in officer rescue and the transport of personnel.
The Portland Police Bureau on Tuesday said they were preparing for “mass gathering events” Saturday. Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a press release Tuesday that the bureau was working with the mayor’s office and other partnering agencies in their response plans.
Wheeler on Wednesday issued a series of Tweets about the planned Proud Boys rally, saying, “Alt-right groups and white nationalists are intent on coming into our community. These groups empower racism, intolerance and hate. Those are not Portland values, and they are not welcome. Hate has no home in Portland.”
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