Documents obtained through a public records request by WW's news partner KATU-TV show that the Portland Police Bureau spent more than $45,000 this month on riot control agents and munitions, including rubber ball blast grenades that deploy tear gas.
The purchases were made June 1—three days after protests against police brutality began in Portland, KATU-TV reported.
Most of the purchases were made through a company called Defense Technology, which designs and sells products specifically for law enforcement agencies.
In the past several weeks, PPB has been criticized for at times deploying large quantities tear gas against protesters, sometimes indiscriminately. That's reflected in purchase orders, which show the bureau spent over $20,000 on chemical agents like tear gas, also called CS gas.
The bureau spent $4,375 on a stun grenade called "The Stinger."
"The Stinger® CS Rubber Ball Grenade is a maximum effect device that delivers four stimuli for psychological and physiological effects: rubber pellets, light, sound, and CS," the product description says. "The Stinger® Grenade has an initial 1.5 second delay that initiates fuze assembly separation, followed by another .5 second delay before the blast which is sufficient to project the rubber balls and chemical agent in a 50 foot radius."
It spent another $6,893 on the "Triple Chaser" tear gas canister.
"This grenade can be hand thrown or launched from a delivery system," its product description says. "This grenade is 6.5 in. by 2.7 in. and holds approximately 3.2 oz. of active agent payload. It has an approximate burn time of 20-30 seconds."
In response to a request for comment by KATU, the Police Bureau said part of its budget is specifically designated for munitions, and that the bureau was concerned about possible shortages among munition supply companies nationwide as protests against police brutality continued in nearly all 50 states.
"We learned that the normal supply chain for munitions was disrupted due to this national level of civil unrest and demand for crowd control munitions," PPB wrote to KATU. "We ordered munitions to ensure we have an adequate supply for future incidents. Some of these orders were placed in anticipation of ongoing supply chain issues for the next six months or more."
Following legislation that passed during last week's special session of the Oregon Legislature, law enforcement statewide is now banned from using tear gas except in situations that police determine are riots.