Marshman says police actions Friday were justified, won't step down from threats


Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman is responding to demands by some protesters that Mayor Ted Wheeler fire him or that he step down following last Friday’s protest.

Members of a group called the Direct Action Alliance sent a letter to Mayor Wheeler demanding that Chief Marshman resign or be fired by the end of the day Tuesday.

Marshman told FOX 12, though, that he has no intentions of doing so and feels the action his officers took on Friday was fair and justified.

In an interview with FOX 12 Tuesday, Marshman called the way police responded on Friday night a success.

More than 4,000 people took to the streets for an un-permitted march that night, most of whom were demonstrating peacefully.

However, when a small group started throwing projectiles at officers, challenging them with makeshift shields and ignoring repeated commands to get out of the streets, Marshman said they used a minimal amount of crowd control devices including pepper spray, rubber bullets and tear gas to restore order.

Marshman said his staff is still reviewing the tactics used that night and that he wants, as always, to learn from it. His message for protesters has not changed, though - illegal and violent activity will never be allowed in the streets.

“We just want people to have their first amendment rights and do it freely and then go home,” Marshman said. “Our goal is not to arrest, but when some folks in the crowd throw ice pellets or bottles or lit flares - I think one of the news stations showed the lit flare on top of the old courthouse downtown - to me that’s not protesting. That’s just criminal behavior. And we have an obligation to stop that.”

Without Marshman being fired or stepping down, protesters are threatening to “shut the city down” Wednesday. Despite the fact that he has to take officers away from other duties, the chief says police will be ready to respond.

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