The Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office announced on Friday they are preparing for potential unrest on and after Election Day. The announcement comes after the city has been plagued with riots on a near-daily basis since late May after the death of George Floyd.
"In the past, some individuals and groups have gathered and marched following the election results, both in celebration and sometimes because they are angered or upset. In some instances, significant damage was done to local businesses, which did not change the election outcome, but hurt our community members," their press release stated.
"PPB and MCSO will be increasing staffing on Election Day and the days following as a precaution. While we promote and support the exercise of the First Amendment rights to assemble and engage in free speech, engagement in criminal activity will not be tolerated."
The press release gave examples of criminal behavior "that will not be tolerated":
- Impeding transportation by blocking streets and vehicular traffic. Pedestrians on or blocking freeways or major thoroughfares is extremely dangerous and poses a life safety risk.
- Lighting fires and burning materials,
- Vandalizing and damaging property,
- Assaultive behavior
- Unlawful weapons possession and/or use
"This election season has increased fear and uncertainty for many of our community members," said PPB Chief Chuck Lovell. "We want our community to know we are prioritizing public safety by adding resources and collaboration during this important time. We ask for the public to help us by reporting criminal activity, staying informed, and engaging in lawful activities. Together, we can achieve a safe election season in Portland."
Overnight from Thursday, protesters started a fire in the middle of the street, prompting police to clear the area so fire crew could respond.
Police give warning that firefighters are on their way, tells protestors not to interfere pic.twitter.com/JLE9uzOsqc— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) October 16, 2020