Local residents in the Portland area have begun asking local law enforcement why they can’t act on riotous crime. The city's police departments points to new Democrat-passed legislation that restricts use of crowd control tactics.
Earlier this week a group of businesses sent a letter to Mayor Ted Wheeler and city leaders about "rapidly deteriorating conditions" in their neighborhoods.
Now, according to the local KOIN station, the Pearl District Neighborhood Association had a meeting with Portland police on Thursday night to talk about a wave of vandalism.
It was earlier this week that Antifa supporters gathered at the Portland Justice Center for a memorial. That night they inflicted $500,000 worth of property damage but couldn’t make any arrests, per reporting from the Portland Police Bureau.
Lt. Jake Jensen was the representative the bureau sent to answer residents' questions. He had a simple answer for them: House Bill 2928 stops them. It’s one of the many police reform bills passed by the Oregon State legislature during the summer. A summary by the Gazette-Times reveals the relevancy of HB 2928:
"Tear gas and nonlethal projectiles, such as rubber bullets, can be used for crowd control only if someone's conduct justifies police use of deadly physical force. Sound devices and strobe lights are banned. Police must evacuate injured people and allow access by emergency medical services."
At the meeting with local residents, Jensen explained the practical impact of crowd control methods. "The fact of the matter is without being able to use pepper spray, without being able to use our 40mm less-lethal devices in that kind of environment, it really prevents us from having access to the tools we need in large part to keep ourselves safe," he told them.
A member of the association asked if more manpower made a difference. Jensen said it did not, in the circumstances Oregon officers face.
"Does that mean we are now like a lawless city, anyone can come in and just bash around and do all the damage they want without any repercussions whatsoever?" asked one resident. Lt. Jake Jensen said not exactly, since there’s always the potential for results in follow-up investigations.