Mayor Ted Wheeler defended the Portland Police Bureau's use of non-lethal force on Friday night against anti-Trump protests, issuing a statement Monday that "early indications" suggested the police actions were "appropriate."
The Portland Police Bureau shut down the protests, with chemical irritants, pepper spray and stun grenades, preventing protesters from crossing bridges or blocking streets—a significant change from past mayors who have allowed protesters more room to march.
"No one likes to see the use of crowd control devices," Wheeler says in a statement. "I certainly don't. When these devices are used, I want to be sure that they are used under the proper circumstances. Early indications are that their use on Friday night was appropriate. I will of course review post-action reports to make sure that was the case."
The emailed statement issued by Wheeler's office also included a note offering witnesses a chance to provide their complaints or commendations for officers.
"If you were present at any of these events and wish to file a complaint or a commendation relating to sworn officers of the Portland Police Bureau, please contact the city's Independent Police Review Division."
Organizers of Friday night's protests sharply criticized the police's decision to use nonlethal force against protesters.
In a statement from an organizer sent to the press on Monday, some protesters threatened to shut down the streets of Portland by Wednesday if Wheeler didn't fire Police Chief Mike Marshman.
"On January 20, 2017, the Portland Police Department and the City of Portland, knowingly and intentionally set out to incite violence on the streets of Portland," Jacob Bureros of Direct Action Alliance said in a statement.
"They created confrontation where there was none and then attacked citizens with chemical weapons, concussion grenades and rubber bullets.On that night, the police systematically blocked EVERY path that the peaceful crowd attempted to take. They attacked us first on the Burnside Bridge then they deliberately corralled us into Pioneer courthouse square where they gassed us—men, women, children, everyone—they hit us with concussion grenades, rubber bullets and batons."
Full statement from Wheeler below: