Legal Settlement Forces Portland Police to Stop Using “Flash-Bangs”

It isn’t the first time the bureau has had to discontinue its use of the munitions.

The city of Portland has settled a 2-year-old lawsuit filed by activists accusing the Portland Police Bureau of using indiscriminate force against protesters.

The city will pay $50,000 to each of the five people named in the lawsuit. It will also decommission the bureau’s “rubber ball distraction devices,” the “flash-bang” grenades used by police to control crowds during the summer 2020 protests following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

The grenades, advertised to deliver “four stimuli for psychological and physiological effects,” including rubber pellets, caused serious injuries.

“This is a win for organizers and anti-fascist activists everywhere,” says Teressa Raiford, executive director of Don’t Shoot Portland, the advocacy organization that brought the lawsuit.

It isn’t the first time the bureau has had to discontinue its use of the munitions. In 2018, then-Police Chief Danielle Outlaw temporarily suspended the use of flash-bang grenades after they seriously injured multiple leftist protesters. The city eventually paid out a six-figure settlement related to one of those incidents as well.