The mayor of Portland has banned police in the US state of Oregon’s largest city to stop using tear gas for crowd control during the frequently violent protests that have plagued the city for more than three months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, was tear gassed when he went to a demonstration against the presence of federal authorities dispatched to the city to protect federal property.
He said he still wants police to respond aggressively to prevent violence and vandalism.
Hundreds of people have been arrested since the protests started in May.
Effective immediately, I am directing the Portland Police Bureau to end the use of CS gas for crowd control until further notice. We need something different. We need it now. https://t.co/z5ny0okSir— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) September 10, 2020
I call on everyone to step up and tamp down the violence. I’m acting. It’s time for others to join me.— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) September 10, 2020
“I expect the police to arrest people who engage in criminal acts.
“I expect the district attorney to prosecute those who commit criminal acts.
“And I expect the rest of the criminal justice system to hold those individuals accountable,” the mayor said.
The protesters want city officials to slash the police budget and reallocate that money to black residents and businesses.
Some demonstrators are also demanding the resignation of Mr Wheeler, a white man and the scion of a timber company fortune.
In clashes with police, some protesters have broken windows, set small fires, punctured police car tyres, shined lasers in officers’ eyes and pelted them with rocks and frozen water bottles.
Mr Wheeler recently moved out of his high-rise apartment after protesters targeted the building, setting a fire in a business on the ground floor.