With Pulitzer Prize-winning, former New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof being deemed ineligible to run for Oregon governor, Tina Kotek, who resigned as Oregon Speaker of the House in January to focus on her campaign, has been eyed as a potential Democratic shoe-in candidate for the seat.
Kotek though, has been revealed to have voiced her support for the Portland rioters that wrecked havoc in the city spanning a number of months in 2020. In a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, she condemned the usage of tear gas on rioters during the night of June 30, 2020.
KATU 2 said that the Portland Police Bureau stated they used CS gas, a type of tear gas, to disperse the crowd after some threw commercial grade fireworks, rocks, and full cans and water bottles, injuring some of the officers.
In her letter, Kotek said the use of CS gas was "an unnecessary escalation by the PPB against people excercising (sic) their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech," according to KATU 2.
"What needed to be protected last night?" Kotek writes. "An empty office building? Was this need more important than the health of neighbors, of children in a neighborhood, of people returning home from work?"
She added regarding the rioters, "The declaration of an "unlawful assembly" did not seem warranted. The declaration of a 'riot' was an abuse of the statute. Therefore, the ensuing actions by the PPB were unlawful."
The full version of this letter has since been removed from Facebook, where it was originally published.
One of Kotek's staffers at the time, Kristina Narayan, was arrested in September of 2020 for interfering with a police officer during yet another night of protests and riots, according to the Daily Mail.
"Kristina Narayan was arrested for interfering with a police officer after the event became a riot and the crowd was given multiple orders to disperse, which she did not do," a spokesperson told Fox News.
Kotek also posted a statement on July 1, 2020 regarding her thoughts on then-recent police actions in the city, calling for people to be held accountable.
"People should be held responsible for destructive , dangerous, and violent acts — regardless of their job or their politics. Police officers should be held responsible for destructive, dangerous, and violent acts. At this critical moment, they’re not being held sufficiently accountable and therefore the protests continue," she wrote.
She continued on later in the statement to say: "I urge police departments across Oregon to adhere to the new use of force law we passed last month, and not wait until next year to implement it. Let’s get started with more responsible law enforcement now. The protests will end when we see more change."
The statement came in response to the Portland Police Bureau's usage of the gas just hours after a ban was passed through state legislature.
According to the Willamette Week, "Police can deploy tear gas for the purpose of crowd control 'in circumstances constituting a riot.' By the state's definition of 'riot,' the police can use gas anytime five or more people gather, engage in 'tumultuous and violent conduct,' and won't disperse after being ordered to do so."
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