After Four Years of Attempting to Engage With Ted Wheeler About Police Accountability, Bobbin Singh Has Come to a Hard Conclusion: He Must Go

The executive director of the Oregon Justice Resource Center explains why he wants the mayor to resign, and what he and others mean when they say Portland is under the thumb of a “rogue police force.”

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

Bobbin Singh has seen enough.

As the founding executive director of the Oregon Justice Resource Center—a nonprofit that provides legal services to underserved groups, including those living in poverty and people of color—Singh has spent Ted Wheeler's tenure attempting to engage the mayor on the issue of police accountability and provide strategies for pushing back against the encroachment of far-right extremists on the streets of Portland.

It has not been a successful campaign. And so, last week, the OJRC joined a chorus of civil rights groups in calling for Wheeler's resignation.

It is not, Singh emphasizes, a viewpoint shaped by the last 100 days of protests in Portland but through four years of trying and failing to get Wheeler to listen to their concerns. But after the shooting death of a Trump-supporting protester outside a downtown parking garage last Saturday, it became clear to Singh that Wheeler should no longer remain in office.

"What we saw last week unfortunately was the tragedy that played out and something we'd been warning Wheeler about—that someone would die on the streets of Portland," Singh says. "What we know now is Mayor Wheeler does not have the capacity or ability to navigate us through the next three months. This is only going to intensify as we hit the November election."

In a conversation with WW editor and publisher Mark Zusman, Singh lays out his argument against Wheeler and Chief of Police Chuck Lovell, and explains what he and others mean when they say Portland is under the thumb of a "rogue police force."

See more Distant Voices interviews here.

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