PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The Portland Police Bureau’s former Assistant Police Chief Brian Martinek says he knows exactly what it’s like to be in the middle of a chaotic protest, which law enforcement says could happen in downtown Portland Saturday.
“It’s very emotional, it’s stressful beyond belief,” Martinek said. “It can be scary you have thousands of people yelling and screaming and moving towards you. All with the intent of breaking through you, running over you or hurting you.”
Martinek says over the years, the feel of these demonstrations have shifted.
“It’s designed to terrorize, intimidate and taunt,” Martinek said. “They’ve gotten more violent.”
Portland police say they are prepared for demonstrations that will likely take place between Southwest Salmon Street and Southwest Morrison Street at Waterfront Park Saturday.
PPB said the demonstrations could begin as early as 9 a.m. The bureau has called in help from many different area agencies on the local, state and federal level to help keep the city covered in case the demonstrations escalates.
Martinek, who has also served as bureau’s Rapid Response Team Leader, says he senses a new attitude from Portland city leaders regarding demonstrations and protests.
“It sounds like there might be more focus on actually arresting people causing violence,” Martinek said. “They are going to do strategical tactics that take into account not ever leaving an officer alone, in a situation where they can be outnumbered and overwhelmed.”
Martinek says he expects to see arrests and violence Saturday, as well as a bigger police response and a more hands-on approach, which he says could act as a double-edged sword.
“I think that’s going to attract some people who are going to want to challenge that,” Martinek said. “let’s challenge authority and authority just threw down the gauntlet, so let’s see what they got…and I think you’re going to get that.”
The Portland Bureau of Transportation Friday set up concrete barriers along the waterfront for about a half-mile in an attempt they say will help to keep demonstrating groups separated for as long as possible.
A wall of concrete barriers now stretches a half mile down Naito in preparation for tomorrow’s protests. We’re hearing from Portland’s former assistant police chief & leader of the rapid response team who expects to see more arrests than usual. #Fox12 #PortlandProtest #Portland pic.twitter.com/wQspwglXWN— Bonnie Silkman KPTV (@BonnieSilkman) August 17, 2019
Several area businesses have said they will be closing up shop Saturday due to the expected protests, while others say they are planning to open later than usual. Others say they’re stepping up security, including the Keller Auditorium, whose two Saturday performances are set to go on as scheduled.
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