A non-sworn Portland Police Bureau public records specialist named Laura Jensen sent a remarkable email to police staff Friday evening titled "Sick leave from Portland Police Records."
In her email, Jensen condemned the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd control devices and expressed solidarity with antifascist protesters.
The email, which landed on the eighth consecutive night of protests against police brutality, is a striking commentary on the actions of the bureau, which over the past week has deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, flash-bangs (also known as concussion grenades) and sonic weapons called long range acoustic devices, or LRADs.
Below is the email in its entirety, shared with WW.
I'll be out sick for the foreseeable future and self-isolating. I wanted to make sure you knew in case you were infected as well and need to be tested. You see, I'm pretty sure I'm sick with that antifa that President Trump is always warning us about and also that anti-racism that people are protesting about.
I'm not entirely sure where I got either one from. Maybe I got the anti-racism from my Quaker ancestors – there were an awful lot of abolitionists among the Quakers. Or maybe it was the Irish immigrant who fought for the Union in the Civil War. Or maybe it's just basic human decency? Anyway, that part is pretty clearly a pre-existing condition and it's possible I infected some of you without knowing. I apologize.
And the antifa – well, I know for a fact that it hit my Grandpa Jensen pretty hard back in the 1940s. I mean, joining the Army Air Corps and defeating the Nazis – those are some pretty strong symptoms, don't you agree? But like so many other things, back then they had another name for it. I think they called it "patriotism" back then, but I'm not sure. I'll have to look into it. But again, if I've infected you I'm sorry. Please consider getting yourself tested. It's a pretty easy test. Ask yourself: "Do I support fascism and authoritarianism? Yes / No." That's it. Done.
With these sorts of pre-existing, chronic conditions, there are a lot of things that can trigger the symptoms to re-erupt and then the stress can wreak havoc with your health and well-being. Unfortunately an awful lot of them have been in Portland lately. Tear gas, which is banned in warfare but not for use on your own citizens, is one. I mean, even if you don't consider that to be pretty problematic, think about the fact that we're in the middle of a pandemic involving respiratory illness – tear gas makes it pretty darn hard to breathe! Misuse of rubber bullets is another strong trigger. Pro tip: if you don't want to cause grievous bodily harm to peaceful protesters, maybe read the instructions and learn how to use them? From what I've seen, exactly zero law enforcement officers in the entirety of the United States have read the instructions. What is this country coming to? How about threatening members of the press? Hmm, awfully fascist there, folks. And the use of LRADs (Long Range Acoustic Devices) aka sonic cannons –I mean, if you're too close to that thing when it goes off you can lose your hearing and have nerve damage. And worst of all – recklessly driving a vehicle towards protesters. Why, if you hit someone that could end up being murder, and a murder is what started this whole thing in the first place.
Anyway, as you can see I've got these pretty bad right now, so I better self-isolate for the good of everyone. Please consider testing yourselves and self-isolating if necessary. And please do pass this on to any colleagues who have not received this – I don't want to miss anyone!
Jensen did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
Portland Police spokeswoman Lt. Tina Jones declined to comment.
"We are aware of this communication and consider it a personnel matter," Jones said.