Story at a glance
- The far-right group, Proud Boys, is organizing a political rally over the weekend in Portland.
- Protesters and police have also clashed in the city, as demonstrations over the court ruling in Breonna Taylor’s death escalated.
- The Oregon State Police and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office will now have authority to handle the rally.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) declared a state of emergency ahead of this weekend’s far-right rally in Portland. The decision also comes after protesters and police clashed during demonstrations over the grand jury decision not to directly indict any officer involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.
Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reports that Brown made the decision as the far right group, Proud Boys, is organizing a political rally expected to bring thousands to the city. Under the declaration of emergency, the Oregon State Police and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office will have authority to handle the rally.
OPB writes that Proud Boys is a group that frequently engages in violence at protests, and a counter-demonstration is planned nearby. The Proud Boys rally is scheduled to take place in Delta Park in North Portland. The counter-demonstration will be held at Peninsula Park.
Civil rights demonstrations have also escalated in Portland this year amid a renewed Black Lives Matter movement.
“The First Amendment does not give anyone license to hurt or kill someone because of opposing political views,” Brown said during a press conference. “And when free expression is fueled by hate and coupled with an intent to incite violence, then I need to do everything I can as governor to ensure the safety of Oregonians.”
While no details emerged regarding how many officers will be allocated to the demonstration, they will be permitted to use crowd-controlling devices, such as tear gas, if the protests escalate. Earlier in September, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a ban on police using tear gas to subdue protesters after national criticism surrounding police brutality and the usage of unnecessary force.
With Brown giving control over the rally to the Oregon State Police, the option to use tear gas on crowds will be made available.
“We will not remove CS gas as a possibility from these events,” State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton said. “Under this authority, we will make this available to not only state troopers, deputy sheriffs, but also Portland police officers.”
The city of Portland denied a permit for the Proud Boys to hold the rally earlier this week, citing concerns over a large crowd amid the coronavirus pandemic. Wheeler also tweeted that alt-right groups are “not welcome” in Portland, citing the group’s ties to racism.
On 9/26, alt-right groups and white nationalists are intent on coming into our community. These groups empower racism, intolerance and hate. Those are not Portland values, and they are not welcome. Hate has no home in Portland.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) September 24, 2020