PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - The Portland Police Bureau is responding to criticism that Mayor Ted Wheeler impeded its work during this weekend's protests.
Wheeler received criticism on social media following Saturday’s confrontations between Antifa and members of a "Him Too" rally.
He was accused of tying the bureau's hands and refusing to let them deal with trouble makers.
On Wednesday, the Bureau's Assistant Chief told FOX 12 that's simply not true.
“I can tell you the direction I got from the mayor's office for this event which was enforce the law to the extent it is physically possible prevent violence from happening in our city prevent property damage and allow people to exercise their first amendment rights,” Asst. Chief Chris Davis said.
The bureau is looking for three suspects from the demonstrations. Three others were arrested.
One of the people hurt in the violence was Andy Ngo, who says he was there covering the event as a freelance journalist.
“Then the hits were coming from every direction to my face, to my head. They felt like punches,” Ngo said. “The stuff that they sprayed on me was getting into wounds and burning, and I just kept thinking ‘Where are the police? Who’s going to come help me?’”
Ngo claims, “It’s not an issue of rank-and-file police officers. It’s an issue of what would be colloquially called stand-down orders… I wonder how many more people need to be injured before something changes?”
Meanwhile, Portland police say one solution for making demonstrations safer would be to forbid people from wearing masks.
“So if we enact a restriction that people at this kind of event can’t wear masks, it takes that anonymity away, and it deters people from committing the crime in the first place, which is really what we want,” Davis said.
Ngo said threats had been made against him – that he’d be attacked if he showed up at the rallies – but he says he went anyway to still cover the event in an effort to expose the people committing violence.
He says among his injuries is bleeding on the brain.
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