Oregon law enforcement agencies condemn actions of officers in George Floyd’s death

Portland police, McMinnville police, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Washington County Sheriff’s Office have criticized the Minneapolis officers.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The death of a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis has sparked a nationwide discussion. Over the last two days, several law enforcement agencies in Oregon joined that conversation.

Video taken by passersby show a white police officer keeping his knee on George Floyd’s throat for several minutes. Bystanders begged the officer, Derek Chauvin, to stop. Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” and gasping for air.

Police originally said Floyd died at the hospital. But a report from the EMTs who responded said Floyd was unresponsive when they arrived at the scene.

The fallout from Floyd’s death has been felt in Minneapolis and across the country. The four officers involved have been fired. The mayor of Minneapolis has called for Chauvin to be arrested. That hasn’t happened yet.

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The incident has once again put a spotlight on police use of force, particularly with people of color. There have been riots and destruction in Minneapolis after protests hit a boiling point. That has included burning and the looting of several businesses.

There have also been demonstrations in cities across the country calling for justice.

In Oregon, several law enforcement agencies condemned what happened to Floyd.

On Wednesday night, McMinnville police tweeted a picture of the Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s throat, saying, in part:

“This is not who we are, or what we stand for. We have never trained to do this, nor will it ever be acceptable. We have and will continue to stand with our fellow citizens condemning these types of actions by those in law enforcement who act in an improper manner.”

Portland police weighed in too, with Chief Jami Resch putting out a statement Thursday morning.

“The actions and tactics displayed on the video do not represent our profession’s values and are contrary to our fundamental duty to protect and serve,” she said.

In a call with reporters, acting chief Chris Davis, filling in while Resch is furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic, said the bureau is preparing for protests in Portland but wouldn’t get into specifics about how officers would be instructed to respond.

The Portland Police Bureau, Port of Portland Police Department, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Tualatin police, Tigard police, Sherwood police and Forest Grove police released a joint statement Thursday night criticizing the actions of the officers in Minneapolis.

“We stand together as law enforcement professionals in the Portland Metropolitan Area to condemn the tactics and actions demonstrated in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is our job to protect life and increase public safety within our communities. The incident in Minneapolis does not reflect our value of the sanctity of life or the code of ethics we have sworn to uphold. It is disheartening when the actions of so few tarnish the noble profession that we have dedicated our lives to. We are committed to maintaining and strengthening the trust of our communities who grant us the privilege to serve them.”

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