Video: Protesters Block Streets After Portland, OR, Council Approves Police Contract

The scene devolved into a lengthy standoff, with dozens of protesters blocking traffic and light-rail trains until an estimated 75 officers in riot gear intervened.

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VIDEO: Protesters Block Streets After Portland, OR, Council Approves Police Contract

Tumult ensued on the steps of Portland (OR) City Hall as police pepper-sprayed and arrested protesters in the aftermath of an unruly demonstration Wednesday over a newly approved contract for rank-and-file officers.

The scene devolved into a lengthy standoff, with dozens of protesters blocking traffic and light-rail trains until an estimated 75 officers in riot gear intervened.

Police had already shoved protesters out of City Hall, dousing some with pepper spray, after they disrupted a City Council hearing. Demonstrators wouldn't begin dispersing until just after 5 p.m., some eight hours after the unparalleled protest began. 

The source of contention: City Council's 3-1 vote for a controversial new police contract, and Mayor Charlie Hales' unprecedented maneuvering within City Hall to conduct the vote in a meeting room cordoned off from protesters.

The contract raises officers' pay, amid a staffing shortage, and ends a contentious rule that let officers wait 48 hours to speak with internal investigators after using deadly force.

Officials said concerns over rules for body-worn cameras will be publicly vetted next year under the new mayor, Ted Wheeler. But that hasn't satisfied opponents, who also wanted expanded civilian oversight powers, the Oregonian reports.

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