One day after WW published a story outlining allegations of assaults on protesters by a Portland police officer wearing helmet number 67, the city's Independent Police Review said it had opened investigations into his actions.
Among the things city officials are trying to determine? Who the officer is.
"The Independent Police Review (IPR) is aware of video footage circulating on social media about several incidents from recent protests involving a Portland Police Bureau member identified as 'Officer 67,'" the office said in a statement. "We have opened investigations into these incidents and are working to identify the member involved in each incident."
In this week's edition of WW, three people who attended Portland protests—two journalists and an activist—gave detailed accounts of being shoved to the pavement by an officer with 67 on his helmet. An officer sporting that number is already being investigated by IPR for assaulting Black homeowner Elijah Warren, who had complained of tear gas leaking into his house during a Sept. 5 protest.
The difficulty of officially identifying the officer wearing 67 stems from several city policies that effectively render riot police anonymous.
Since protests against police brutality began early this summer, IPR has seen a dramatic increase in complaints involving officers using excessive force against protesters. However, investigating these cases became increasingly difficult since officers began covering the name tags on their badges. The Police Bureau has declined to release the names of officers amid an ongoing investigation and says it can't identify cops from helmet numbers anyway.
IPR director Ross Caldwell said what would help strengthen his office's investigations is if victims are willing to come forward with information that could help them identify Officer 67. They can be reached at email@example.com or (503) 823-0146.
"We are aware of multiple videos that seem to involve the same officer. We are hearing about this from lots and lots of people. It is of great community interest and concern," Caldwell says.
Caldwell adds that Officer 67 may still be on street duty, patrolling protests. (Mayor Ted Wheeler's office says it doesn't know whether he's on street duty.)
"We don't get to decide who comes off the streets; it's the chief's office and the mayor's office. If we don't hear that he is [off street duty], we do what's appropriate to make sure that's done."