Portland officer recalls takedown of protest's gun-waving suspec - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland officer recalls takedown of protest's gun-waving suspect and bridge protest

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Officer Ryan Mele Officer Ryan Mele

While the horror and magnitude of the Dallas police shootings spread across the nation, Portland police officers quickly handled a briefly tense situation where a man waved a gun during the city’s own Black Lives Matter march and also engaged in an hours-long standoff with protesters on the Morrison Bridge.

Officer Ryan Mele was dispatched to the protest as part of the bureau’s Rapid Response Team, and told FOX 12 Friday he helped take down the gun-waving suspect, Michael Strickland, Thursday evening.

"It was the best outcome with a bad situation,” Mele said. "When you're presented with a bad situation where you have a person in the public with a gun, especially after something like that happened in Dallas, it’s definitely one of those things that makes you think, and the training just kicks in and everything worked out.”

Mele said Strickland had put his gun back in his waistband by the time officers arrived and they were able to quickly detain him without further incident.

As protesters later made their way to the Morrison Bridge, Mele and other officers shut down the bridge, keeping the crowd back and warning that physical force and riot control tactics would be used against them if necessary.

It was never needed, and around 12:30 a.m. the crowd had largely left the bridge and those who remained shared candy and jokes with officers.

While staying focused on the job at hand, Mele said the freshness of the Dallas shooting was in his and fellow officers’ minds as they worked to control the crowd.

He added that the possibility of violence breaking out during a protest is “always in the back of your mind”, adding that the magnitude of the targeted violence against police in Dallas was an “eye-opening” experience.

Mele expressed condolences and sorrow for those who lost their lives and were affected by the shootings and said it’s during these tough times that support from the community and his family encourage him to put on the uniform to go to work every day.

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