The ACLU of Oregon and other groups are calling for Portland police to change the way they respond to protests.
“When police show up in riot gear, it has the effect of escalating the situation,” said ACLU of Oregon spokeswoman Sarah Armstrong. “We think police policies should aim for de-escalation.”
“Portland has a long history of civil disobedience,” Armstrong told KGW TV. “What seems to be different is the swiftness and violence of the police response.”
Many observers have noticed a change in the tolerance level of police for protesters blocking streets under Mayor Ted Wheeler. Protests taking place in 2016, before Wheeler took office, included hours of blocked streets.
In a statement released Tuesday, Wheeler said he and the police chief will meet with members of the community to discuss how to best relieve tensions between protesters and police.