Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Chief Jami Resch is resigning, she announced at a Monday noon press conference.
Resch's resignation comes after 10 nights of Portland protests against police brutality that saw heavy uses of force from PPB, including tear gas and other chemical agents, rubber bullets, and pepper balls. PPB Lieutenant Chuck Lovell, a Black man with 18 years experience at PPB, will replace her.
Resch's resignation was reportedly her own decision, not Mayor Ted Wheeler's.
"What PPB has not done, publicly, is not stand up and say we will be the start of that change," Resch said at Monday's press conference. "This change starts with trust. I have asked Chuck Lovell to serve as the chief of the Portland Police Bureau."
Resch has been on the job just six months, after replacing former Chief Danielle Outlaw. Her resignation is effective immediately. Resch will remain a sworn member of PPB, but she said she's not yet sure what position she will hold.
"This change needs to start with trust and it needs to come from the heart," Resch added. "So I am asking members of PPB to please trust me, this is the right thing to do."
After Resch announced her resignation, Lovell delivered remarks at the press conference. Lovell, 46, said he's worked in Northeast Portland throughout his career, and that during community conversations, he felt that Black residents and police officers "left missing each other."
"I want to let the community know that we are here to serve you," Lovell said. "We love you. We fall down sometimes. We need to learn how to get better together."
"When I watched the video of what happened to Mr. Floyd, as I watched the agonizing minutes tick by... it wasn’t the tactics, it wasn’t the number of officers there, it was really the lack of care and compassion," he added. "For me, the fight is not with each other. The fight is against that idea... that people, institutions, agencies can harbor that feeling in our hearts."
Lovell, 46, is a former member of the US Air Force. During his 18-year history with PPB, Lovell has served as a school resource officer, was a member of PPB's Crisis Negotiation Team, and led the bureau’s human trafficking department. In 2007, Lovell was named in a lawsuit for violently handcuffing a girl at Jefferson High School after she talked back to the school's dean. A jury found Lovell not guilty.
Lovell's appointment was applauded by a number of longtime leaders in Portland's Black community. Several spoke at the press conference, and called on the community to support and trust Lovell as he enters his new role in such a critical time. Others thanked Resch for stepping aside.
“We have an outgoing chief that did something that is unprecedented," said Tony Hopson, founder of Self Enhancement, Inc (SEI). "In these days and times, to have a chief decide, based on the current circumstances and what she felt was in the best interest of the police force and community, to step aside is virtually unheard of ya’ll."
Reporters asked Lovell if his new leadership will signal a change in the way PPB officers are responding to Portland protests. He declined to answer, instead stating that, "In general terms, change is coming."