Portland police and Multnomah County sheriff’s deputies have filed court documents that give a day-by-day accounting of their protest response over the last six weeks, including dozens of videos that show violence downtown, photos of broken windows to courthouses and businesses and a list of more than 100 fires set.
They estimated repair costs to public buildings approaching $300,000 so far and $4.8 million in property damage to businesses.
The inventory was among more than 100 pages submitted to U.S. District Court by the city and county to answer a lawsuit filed by Don’t Shoot Portland. The nonprofit group seeks to further bar use of tear gas, pepper spray, foam-tipped rounds and other less-lethal weapons as crowd control measures at protests.
“This case is not about the thousands of people peacefully protesting,” Deputy City Attorney Naomi Sheffield wrote. “It is also not about hateful words or anti-police protests. The City and PPB support protestors’ expression, regardless of content. This case is about the ability of PPB to respond to a nightly deluge of dangerous objects thrown and launched at them and at occupied buildings, nightly fires, and widespread criminal activity.”
“Portland Police have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to utilize these riot control munitions without court intervention,” wrote the group’s attorney, Juan Chavez.
Police have arrested more than 200 people in the protests since late May, court records show.
Attorneys from the city and county argue that the violent circumstances merit tear gas use. The Police Bureau and Sheriff’s Office rules now in place as well as a new state bill limiting tear gas to declared riots provide sufficient guidance, they contend.
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