To the Editor,

My wife and I are very concerned about the safety of protesters in our community. As seniors, we are appalled by videos of Portland police shoving and striking folks our age and throwing them to the ground.

We don’t buy claims from the police union that brutal crowd-control is essential to protect officers; an interesting notion given the tactical advantage of police in military gear facing unarmed persons.

We’re angry that restraining orders on tear gas, mace, sting-ball grenades and other impact munitions allow police to decide for themselves which situations “require” excessive force.

Crowd control weapons are especially dangerous to disabled people, the elderly, parents with children, the injured who fall in the street and everyone who can’t move fast enough to escape the assault.

To our leaders in Portland and Salem, we say: you share responsibility for this violence. It should be clear by now that ceding oversight of the police to the police bureau and their union is a dangerous mistake.

According to The Oregonian, 40 persons have been killed by Portland police since 2003. None of these officers has been indicted or disciplined. (Shots Fired: Deadly Portland Police Encounters Reveal Troubling Patterns – The Oregonian, August 16, 2020)

It’s good that you stand with BLM to end racism in our justice system, but we urgently need you to go beyond sympathy with the cause.

Protesters need protection under the law for their First Amendment rights. They need protection from police brutality.

We joined the majority of voters in our city and state to give you the power to act. Action is what we need.

Don and Helen Klopfenstein

 

Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor should be less than 300 words. The Southeast Examiner reserves the right to edit letters for length or content. Submissions are not guaranteed to be published.