You may not have noticed the relatively quiet demonstrations in downtown Portland this weekend protesting the shooting of Patrick Kimmons by police.
But Fox News did.
Portland city officials are responding to a flood of calls asking for information about how police responded when protesters blocked traffic and a motorist drove slowly into a crowd walking through a crosswalk.
A Fox News panel called the small demonstration an example of "left-wing mob mentality" and declared Portland to be a "loony bin" because "the mayor is a nutcase."
The segment appears to conflate the weekend's small demonstrations with a 39-day protest camp outside a federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building where Mayor Ted Wheeler instructed Portland police to only respond to calls when someone's life or physical safety was at risk.
Wheeler's office declined to comment on the segment.
Portland police issued a statement today saying they decide when to send officers to a protest on a case-by-case basis.
"When determining whether or not take law enforcement action at protest events, the most critical factor the Bureau takes into consideration is whether or not a police response would escalate or deescalate tension," a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement. "Escalation can lead to community members and officers getting injured or worse."
Locally, Portland police have been under heightened scrutiny for their response to protests—both for over-policing and under-policing large rallies where the threat of violence between protesters set the city on edge.
"We recognize the strong community concern and interest regarding how police officers respond to crowd control situations," Chief Danielle Outlaw said in the statement that was issued after the Fox News segment and the avalanche of public inquiries about the protest. "There is no cookie-cutter response to these events. The complexity of each demonstration/protest is different and requires thoughtful decision-making."
In this case, a few hundred people attended the Kimmons rally—leading to two interactions between motorists and protesters.
The outcome from the biggest traffic incident, depending on your point of view, was a protester being bumped by a Lexus at low speed or the Lexus suffering scratches, dents and a cracked window.