Portland’s City Council passed new policies on Wednesday that immediately bans all police bureau members from working with federal law enforcement and prevents them from intentionally arresting or using force on journalists and legal observers.
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly drafted the resolutions that both passed unanimously on Wednesday. The ban on law enforcement cooperation comes from the city council’s belief that “current federal operations in Portland as an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by the federal government.”
The resolution states that any member of the Portland Police Bureau who “provides, requests, or willingly receives operational support from militarized federal forces” will be subject to discipline. Any federal request for cooperation from the Portland Police Bureau must now be “reported immediately” to the entire city council by email.
Federal agents use crowd control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Ore. on July 20, 2020. Officers used teargas and projectiles to move the crowd after some protesters tore down a fence fronting the courthouse. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
The second resolution condemns and prevents police in Portland from arresting or using physical force against journalists and legal observers unless they have reasonable suspicion the person has committed a crime. It follows a judge’s ruling last week that credentialed journalists and legal observers were exempt from arrest or threat by police in the city.
Under the new policy, any member of the Portland Police Bureau who intentionally targets a member of the press during demonstrations in violation of the July 16 court injunction will be subject to discipline. It will remain in place for as long as the judge’s order stays in effect.
“Targeting the press and legal observers is not compatible with American democracy,” the resolution stated. “Portland supports democracy and opposes authoritarianism.”
Portland has experienced weeks of unrest following the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, with violence swelling recently amid clashes between protesters and federal agents. The city currently faces numerous lawsuits over the actions of police during demonstrations, which included the use of tear gas and assaults on the press, according to The Oregonian.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ted Wheeler, police officials, and other city leaders have criticized the actions of some protesters who set fires, threw bottles at officers, and vandalized city property, the paper reported.