OPINION| Oregon’s Democrat Governor, Kate Brown, made an announcement a few days ago, on August 29th, that she would be sending more law enforcement officers to quell the unrest in Portland. The headline in the local Willamette Weekly read ‘Gov. Kate Brown Announces Plan to Increase Law Enforcement Presence in Portland’
The Governor said ‘We all must come together—elected officials, community leaders, all of us—to stop the cycle of violence,” “The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight. Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.”
Instead of debunking the absurd, defamatory, false, irresponsible and dangerous claims the Governor made, let’s just focus on her ‘plan.’
The Willamette Weekly reported:
‘Brown laid out a plan that appears to involve cooperation from two prosecutors whose responses to the protests have been very different: newly seated Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, who has been loath to prosecute protesters, and U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams, who has demanded stronger action. (Schmidt took a stricter tone in a press conference this afternoon.) It also involves sworn officers from neighboring jurisdictions, who, Brown’s statement alludes to, have not always been keen to help in Portland.
Here’s what the governor proposes:
1. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute serious criminal offenses, including arson and physical violence.
2. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office will work with system partners to hold individuals booked for violent behavior, and to ensure that there is adequate jail space to hold such individuals.
3. As done previously, Oregon State Police will detail personnel and resources to Portland to free up the Portland Police Bureau’s investigative capabilities to arrest and charge those engaging in violent acts. OSP troopers will continue their standard practice of wearing body cameras to allow for the documentation of their activities.
4. The governor is asking Clackamas and Washington County sheriff’s offices and the city of Gresham Police Department to support the Portland Police Bureau with personnel and resources to keep the peace and protect free speech.
5. Oregon State Police have offered over two dozen body cameras and associated evidence management to the Portland Police Bureau, and the bureau will evaluate their use. The city of Portland has agreed to indemnify Clackamas and Washington counties and the city of Gresham for law enforcement assistance. In addition, the mayor will seek financial resources to reimburse these jurisdictions for their support.
6. The United States Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will commit additional resources for the investigation of criminal activity.
Finally, Brown said, she will pull together Black protesters and Wheeler “to discuss racial justice and police reform in the city of Portland.”‘
Well, it turns out there is just one little hitch in the Governor’s plan … the Sheriffs of Clackamas and Washington Counties say they never talked to Brown before she announced she would bellowing to put them in harm’s way. This prompted both Sheriff Roberts of Clackamas County and Sheriff Garrett of Washington Country to issue press releases telling the Governor not to plan on their help.
Here are their strongly-worded statements, you can bet that Governor Brown is fuming right now:
Statement from Sheriff Roberts
‘On Sunday, August 30th, I read that Governor Kate Brown announced a new plan to address the lawlessness happening in Portland. I was surprised to read that the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office was part of the plan since the Governor’s Office never contacted me.
Had Governor Brown discussed her plan with my office, I would have told her it’s about changing policy not adding resources. Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and now, murder. The only way to make Portland safe again, is to support a police that holds offenders accountable for their destruction and violence. That will require the DA to charge offenders appropriately and a decision by the Multnomah County Presiding Judge not to allow offenders released on their own recognizance, and instead require bail with conditions. The same offenders are arrested night after night, only to be released by the court and not charged with a crime by the DA’s Office. The next night they are back at it, endangering the lives of law enforcement and the community all over again.
For all of us in law enforcement, keeping our community safe is our first priority. Had Governor Brown asked me, I would have told her that no amount of human resources will stop the ‘cycle of violence’ (her term) that is making Portland unsafe. For that to occur, the criminal justice system will nee to do its part and hold offenders accountable.’
Kelle Azar summed up the statement by tweeting: ‘Strong statement from @ClackCoSheriff Roberts who says they will not send deputies to Portland after @OregonGovBrown released a plan saying they would.
Instead, he says “the criminal justice system will need to do its part and hold offenders accountable.”
— Kellee Azar (@KelleeAzar) August 31, 2020
Statement from Sheriff Pat Garrett
‘Yesterday, Governor Brown issued a statement asking local law enforcement leaders to provide personnel and resources to assist the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), following Saturday’s shooting death that was not connected to protests.
As Washington Country Sheriff, I commit to support the PPB through indirect ways, like analyzing risks associated with social media, air support, assisting with a specific criminal investigation, etc. At this time, I do not plan to send deputies to work directly in Portland. PPB is a terrific partner and I am very sympathetic to what they are enduring. However, the lack of political support for public safety, the uncertain legal landscape, the current volatility combined with intense scrutiny on use of force presents an unacceptable risk if deputies were deployed directly. Lastly, I support the steps outlined in the Joint Media Release by the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and mean committed to work with the partners and community leaders towards peace and an end to violence.’
A mere 35 minutes later, Kellee Azar tweeted out an update: ‘Now, @WCSOOregon Sheriff Pat Garrett saying he too will not be sending his deputies to Portland despite @OregonGovBrown‘s plan. #LiveOnK2‘
— Kellee Azar (@KelleeAzar) September 1, 2020
It’s hard to blame the Sheriffs for refusing to let their fellow officers become cannon fodder for the rioters. I pray that Portland, Seattle, Kenosha, Chicago, New York .. and all the other cities experiencing unrest find peace soon. However, I fear this will not happen while the media keeps feeding the fire of division.
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