FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Eugene Democratic Socialists of America
Portland police single out leftist protestors, aim lethal weapons at their heads
Eugene, OR, August 10, 2018 — Saturday in Portland, Oregon, members from Eugene Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Portland DSA, Salem DSA and Benton County DSA joined in solidarity at the Portland waterfront area to help protect the community from violent white supremacist groups who had vowed to bring weapons and bloodshed to Portland again.
Despite the well-organized, safe and orderly presence of antifascist workers and other counter-protestors, Portland Police officers, unprovoked, unloaded potentially deadly munitions into them—targeting leftists while leaving violent fascists to their own devices.
The gas grenades and other allegedly “less-than lethal” projectile Portland police so freely and deliberately fired at protestors’ heads are designed only to be fired into concrete. Both manufacturer specification and police training hold this forth, but photos from Saturday show Portland police aiming these weapons from the shoulder at head level.
The police hospitalized several protestors, including one struck by a gas grenade that penetrated their safety helmet — rather than their skull — fired by a police officer who, according to internal training documents, was trained not to use weapons that way.
These grenades have a mass of 0.2 kilograms, so the kinetic energy of being struck with one with a muzzle velocity of 76 meters per second is the equivalent of getting hit with a brick traveling 40 mph.
As they fired these weapons, several police were photographed smiling. As they fired, members of the violent gang called the Proud Boys, and hate group Patriot Prayer cheered them on and chanted “USA.”
In another incident, police fired a projectile at someone talking to a friend while standing a block away from the protest site, causing injuries to her chest and arms as well as chemical burns.
Police also fired flashbangs at protesters, including those who were trying to get away. A police flashbang device produces sounds of 180 decibels — 20 db louder than a military jet aircraft taking off. That’s also double OSHA’s regulation for safe workplaces.
Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw seemed to admit her officers were targeting leftists rather than white supremacists, saying, “you might see that one side was impacted a little bit more than the other.”
Portland Police also took to social media, reporting that weapons and contraband taken from white supremacists bore the image of the Confederate flag. The police claimed, without evidence, that these items could have been planted by antifascists to make the white supremacists appear more racist — effectively providing free public relations to violent white supremacists.
This brutality from Portland Police against anti-fascists in support of white power gangs comes as no surprise. This is part of a decades-long pattern. Should you wonder why these groups repeatedly choose Portland for their rallies, look no further than the white power gangs cheering on the police as they fire grenade rifles at the heads of anti-racist protestors. Look no further than the police standing with their backs to violent neo-Nazis and their weapons pointed toward unarmed protesters.
In this way, the Portland police do the same work as the fascist organizers, making us all more vulnerable to racist, sexist, queerphobic and Islamophobic violence.
Until police and white supremacists are held responsible for their actions, the streets of Portland will continue to be a playground for those whose aim is ultimately to inflict mayhem and murder on anyone who doesn’t match their standards of their fascist ideology.
The below members, groups, and chapters unequivocally denounce the actions of the Portland Police Bureau on Saturday, August 4, 2018.
Benton County DSA
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The Democratic Socialists of America seek to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means/resources of production are democratically and socially controlled.