We need your help. The economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis is threatening our ability to keep producing the quality reporting you've come to love. If you’re able, please consider donating to the Mercury.
GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND. I usually try to start my morning news updates in a more chipper manner, but to be honest I'm feeling pretty disillusioned this morning by certain Portland public servants who spent a good part of last night terrorizing the people who pay their salary. I'll explain.
A CITY UNITED: Yesterday's march and rally in Portland to honor the memory of George Floyd—killed by a Minneapolis police officer—began in an amazingly positive way, with thousands gathering on each side of the Willamette and coming together in downtown's Pioneer Courthouse Square in a startling and inspiring show of unity. Check out this footage of a nine-minute "die in" (to represent the nine minutes the officer had his knee on George Floyd's neck) on the Burnside Bridge.
Here's the recap I wrote very early this morning from our protest liveblog that explains what happened next. (Click the links for tweets with video and pictures.)
The evening started out extremely uplifting with an estimated 10,000 people protesting in Portland to end police brutality, many marching across the Burnside Bridge and meeting up with thousands more downtown at Pioneer Square. At the 9 pm hour things went sideways when protesters, marching to the fenced Justice Center were gassed from the front and the rear by police. Our reporters (Alex Zielinski and Blair Stenvick) were among the hundreds affected, many of whom were innocent bystanders. The majority of the crowd marched out of town, while roughly 1,000 protesters returned to the Justice Center. After a 30 minute standoff, police claimed that some sort of projectiles were thrown at them, sending them into tear gassing fury, throwing gas canisters at any random grouping that was in range. In short, this was FAR MORE gas than has been used during this series of protests, and under FAR LESS provocation. In short, the Portland Police department lost their shit tonight, and there will be many questions to be answered tomorrow.
This was a very condensed version of what happened and leaves out a lot of scary stuff. Check the Mercury's live blog for a blow-by-blow account of what happened. But here are a few particularly memorable (which is to say very disturbing) scenes.
This was the clip that made @LauralPorter & me gasp on live TV.
We saw people moving barricades & equipment around Pioneer Square... when a police SUV came speeding through. Ppl ran out of the way.
This was around 12:14 a.m. @PortlandPolice can you tell us what happened? pic.twitter.com/K7ejbx1FHi
— Maggie Vespa KGW (@Maggie_Vespa) June 3, 2020
THREAD: The OJRC strongly condemns tonight’s actions by the City of Portland and Portland Police Bureau. PPB’s continued use of flash bang grenades, tear gas, intimidation, and violence against protestors is reprehensible. 1/
— Oregon Justice Resource Center (@OJRCenter) June 3, 2020
This morning, the Portland Police are already trying to spin their behavior:
In a Wednesday morning press release, PPB doubles down on the idea that peaceful protesters were not targets of tear gas & munitions. I’d disagree. pic.twitter.com/fhvZ1xOUHy
— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) June 3, 2020
Here's how the cops explain driving their cars at top speed downtown and nearly hitting citizens.
This morning as I write this, Mayor Ted Wheeler is holding one of his regular morning-after press conferences, and is joined by Police Chief Resch who is refusing to address specific incidents of the cops' horrific behavior last night, saying that each will be investigated. Mayor Wheeler will not be enacting a curfew again tonight, saying that it would not have affected last night's outcome. More on this later, stay tuned to the Mercury for details.
This could be later be looked at as a turning point for the way Portland funds and views its police department. In Minneapolis, that discussion is already happening. And it needs to happen here.
I don’t know yet, though several of us on the council are working on finding out, what it would take to disband the MPD and start fresh with a community-oriented, non-violent public safety and outreach capacity.
— Steve Fletcher - Minneapolis Ward 3 (@MplsWard3) June 2, 2020
LET'S MOVE ON TO NATIONAL NEWS:
And guess what? There was some actual POSITIVE NEWS yesterday! For example, disgusting racist/Iowa Rep. Steve King was defeated in Tuesday's Republican primary.
Even better news! Elia Jones is the first Black woman to be elected mayor of Ferguson, Missouri—the town where a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, a Black teenager, in 2014.
Headline: "The police in Minneapolis use force against black people at seven times the rate of whites, city data shows."
The chief of the Pentagon, Mark Esper, says that Trump should NOT being using active military to crush protests across the nation.
In other Esper news, Defense Secretary Mark Esper now admits he fucking lied about not knowing that Trump was going to do that ridiculously laughable upside-down bible photo shoot in front of St. Johns church, when peaceful protesters and clergy were gassed to make room. (By the way, check out this oral history of Trump's batshit crazy, religious photo shoot.)
Speaking of lies: "Trump denies being rushed to bunker during protest, says he went during the day ‘for an inspection.’"
After Democrats in Charlotte, North Carolina tried to insist that Republicans take safety measures and restrict crowd size at the upcoming Republican National Convention, Trump threw a hissy fit and now they're moving it elsewhere.
Claiming the Chinese have violated previous agreements, Trump is blocking China's airlines from flying into the US.
Turns out #Blackout Tuesday wasn't such a cool idea after all.
Welp, here's yet another celebrity I no longer care for: "Nirvana's Krist Novoselic praises Trump's 'strong and direct' protest speech."
Now let's gaze skyward at today's WEATHER: Another nice, sunny day with a high of 75.
And finally, these Black cowboys are giving me life.
There’s a long a proud history of Black cowboys in the United States! [mini thread of links on Black cowboy history] https://t.co/gpZ14u1IMZ— Open Ocean Exploration (@RebeccaRHelm) June 2, 2020