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


A letter from Portland Police Bureau Chief Mike Marshman to Mayor Ted Wheeler painted a graphic picture of what happened during dueling protests in downtown Portland on June 4.

The letter from Marshman was sent in response to several questions the mayor had of the bureau's response to antifascist and anarchist protesters in Chapman Square who gathered to protest a rally organized by supporters of President Donald Trump.

In the letter, Marshman outlined why the decision was made to move counter-protesters out of Chapman Square using crowd control devices, writing that officers had repeatedly observed objects being thrown and shot from slingshot type devices from Chapman Square into Terry Shrunk Plaza.

The chief noted that some of the objects being thrown by protesters included, "urine and feces filled balloons, balloons with unknown chemicals, marbles, bricks, and rocks."

Marshman said officers also watched as counter-protesters climbed a public bathroom with bricks in hand.

"PPB knew that objects were already being thrown and slung and that bricks were being prepared to be thrown," Marshman wrote. "This presented an imminent risk of serious physical injury to members of the public and officers."

In the nine-page document, Marshman also responded to Wheeler's inquiry about what steps were taken to minimize the use of crowd control devices, saying the bureau's preference is to use no crowd control devices at all, but when they do use them it is done strategically.

"The decision to deploy these devices is not taken lightly and is only permitted by members that have substantial training," the chief wrote. "Each use of a crowd control device is subjected to a rigorous after action review process."

In his response, Marshman also clarified that many of the explosions heard and much of the smoke seen in video from the scene was not caused by the PPB but rather the counter protesters in Chapman Square. Marshman said the group was launching large fireworks and smoke bombs at officers.

"It appears that protesters may have been using “gopher gassers”, small rodent poison gas devices," he wrote.

The PPB has come under fire as reports surfaced that several protesters detained by police had photos taken of their IDs. Marshman wrote that such photos were taken simply to speed up the process.

"Writing down each person’s information would have taken much longer," he wrote. "Any photographs not used in a criminal investigation will be purged pursuant to PPB policy."

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