Aug 30, 2020
Portland Officials & Mayor Ted Wheeler Press Conference Transcript on Protest Shooting
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other officials held a press conference on the fatal shooting took place after protesters clashed in the city. He went after President Donald Trump, saying he “created the hate and the division.” Read the full transcript here.
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And Portland Police Bureau chief, Chuck Lovell, and he will be followed by Multnomah County district attorney, Mike Schmidt. So let’s get right to it. Hand the microphone over to Mayor Ted Wheeler.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (00:11)
Thank you, Tim. This afternoon, my heart is heavy. My heart goes out to the family and the friends of the man who was killed last night on the streets of our city. I mourn with you. I’m going to support the police chief and the district attorney in apprehending and holding accountable those who are responsible for the homicide last night. I stand here with the police chief and the district attorney to, again, denounced the violence. The tragedy of last night cannot be repeated.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (00:53)
All of us must take a stance against violence. And it doesn’t matter who you are or what your politics are, we have to all stop the violence. For those of you saying, on Twitter, this morning that you plan to come to Portland to seek retribution, I’m calling on you to stay away. You of course have a constitutional right to be here, but we’re asking you to stay away and work with us to help us deescalate the situation. Portlanders, I’m asking all of us to do our part too.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (01:33)
One death is one death too many. Join me in denouncing all violence. Let’s pull together in the name of peace and humanity. We don’t always have to agree, but we’ve long done so without violence. That’s part of what makes this nation strong. Let’s end this long, hard summer and come together and work to support and lift each other, not tear each other apart. I’m going to continue to work with the community on the historic changes that we’ve already made and have committed to making as we reimagine what public safety and racial justice can look like in our community, and we’ll continue to do that work in the weeks and the months ahead.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (02:22)
There’s so much work to do, and I’ll be intentionally engaging the public as we proceed along these … proceed to engage in that hard work together. Yesterday’s events began with hundreds of cars filled with supporters of the president rallying in Clackamas County, and then driving through downtown Portland. They were supported and energized by the president himself. President Trump, for four years, we’ve had to live with you and your racist attacks on black people. We learned early about your sexist attitudes towards women. We’ve had to endure clips of you mocking a disabled man. We’ve had to listen to your anti-democratic attacks on journalists.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (03:13)
We’ve read your tweets slamming private citizens to the point of receiving death threats, and we’ve listened to your attacks on immigrants. We’ve listened to you label Mexicans rapists. We’ve heard you say that John McCain wasn’t a hero because he was a prisoner of war, and now you’re attacking democratic mayors and the very institutions of democracy that have served this nation well since its founding. Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (03:56)
It’s you who have created the hate and the division, it’s you who have not found a way to say the names of black people killed by police officers, even as people in law enforcement have, and it’s you who claimed that white supremacists are good people. Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything you’ve done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country. You’ve tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history, and now you want me to stop the violence that you helped create.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (04:38)
What America needs is for you to be stopped so that we can come back together as one America, while recognizing that we must demand that all people, black, brown, white, every color from every political persuasion pull together and hold all people accountable in stopping racism and violence. And we together are peaceful again under new leadership that reflects who we really are, we the people of this great nation. President Trump, you bring no peace, you bring no respect to our democracy. You, Mr. President, need to do your job as the leader of this nation, and I, Mr. President, will do my job as the mayor of this city and we will both be held accountable as we should.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (05:36)
I’m also calling out every other elected official in Oregon to join me, not only in defeating racism, but also in helping me to stop the violence as we are and will continue to be held accountable by all of our residents. Today, we need to decide who we are and where are we want to go from here. Don’t let this be the spark that’s sets off an acceleration of hostilities in our beautiful city. Those are not our values. What happened last night does not move us forward. It sets us back.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (06:14)
I know the values of this community. I was born and raised here, I found my living here, I raised my family here. This is where I want to be, and I know the values of this community. We want to protest powerfully and peacefully. We believe that black lives matter, and we believe that it’s the responsibility of our leaders to ensure that the systems that we have in place to protect and serve do so equitably. Let’s engage with each other in thoughtful dialogue about reform and use the power of our shared values to move forward together. We must recommit our energy and our resources to advancing the work of reform and the transformation of our systems.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (07:05)
We’ve seen the positive power of collective and focused and nonviolent action. We’ve seen the change. Our responsibility to each other is to keep moving forward. Portland is counting on its leaders, the city, the county, the state, our federal partners to partner and use the collective power of our officers to create a better future for all of us. Thank you.
All right. Next, we will have Portland Police Bureau chief, Chuck Lovell.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (07:50)
Thank you, Tim. Last night, Portland witnessed another homicide. This time in downtown Portland. There are many who are sharing information on social media or jumping to conclusions that are not based in fact. A human being lost their life last night and it’s critical that everyone refrain from conjecture and allow us to gather the evidence and statements needed to hold the person who did this responsible for this heinous act. We ask that anyone with information or video or eye witness accounts, please come forward and share that information with our investigators so we can quickly resolve this case. Prior to the shooting, there was a political rally involving a vehicle caravan that traveled through Portland for several hours. There were some skirmishes between rally goers and counter demonstrators, and police made several arrests. The caravan covered miles of area and officers responded to different locations as identified problems arose and provided a presence and even made arrests when warranted. The vehicle caravan had already cleared the area when the shooting occurred near Southwest Third and Alder.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (09:04)
This is an active investigation and our detectives are gathering information to determine what happened and what led up to this death. In order to protect the integrity of this case, we can not release any specific details at this time. Our constitution permits freedom of speech and assembly and individuals are free to disagree, but criminal activity, especially violence is out of bounds. This event is already gaining extreme media attention, and I will once again point out, this is not the only life lost to gun violence in Portland. On Thursday, a 16 year old African American teenager was gunned down in a city park.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (09:46)
Three others were injured. Our investigators are still seeking information in that case as well. Some may not even be aware it happened as it hardly generated any headlines. We’ve witnessed an increasing more and more uncivilized activity in our city and in our nation. It’s incumbent on all of us to do better, so no more lives are lost. Portland desperately needs calm. We’re living in an extremely divided era, and it’s time for us to start focusing on what we have in common and not what divides us. Lives are at stake.
And last, we’ll bring up Multnomah County district attorney, Mike Schmidt, and we ask that you hold the questions until after, and then when you do ask a question, let us know who you would like the question to be directed to, and they will step to the microphone as necessary.
Mike Schmidt: (10:44)
Thank you, Mayor Wheeler and Chief Lovell. As the mayor said, my heart is also heavy today. Anytime a human being loses their life, it’s a huge tragedy. My condolences go out to the family. Martin Luther King said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Those words are as true today as they were when Dr. King spoke them 56 years ago in St. Louis. I know today a lot of my neighbors in Multnomah County are fearful and they’re hurting, and I understand that. We are stunned and sad and angry and frustrated that this happened in our community.
Mike Schmidt: (11:34)
That the right or the duty to peacefully protest and speak out for an end to systemic racism that has plagued our country for generations could be undermined by this terrible act of violence. But my message today to my neighbors is we can never allow hatred or racism or division and violence to win. When we allow that, democracy loses. When we allow violence and division to triumph, hope dies. The violence that is occurring in our city needs to stop. Far too many people have been injured and now somebody’s died.
Mike Schmidt: (12:15)
Our community is being terrorized by people coming into Portland for the explicit purpose of committing violence, and that is not acceptable. We’re seeing too much tragedy across our city. As Chief Lovell said, on Thursday a teenager died in a shooting in Northeast Portland, and a neighbor did what neighbors do. She tried to apply a tourniquet but it was unsuccessful. We have too much violence going on in our community. Hate, division, hopelessness, too many guns in the wrong hands is fueling this round of violence, and it will take all of us together to stop the bleeding in our community and in our country. My office is working closely with the Police Bureau and the mayor to investigate last night’s-
Mike Schmidt: (13:03)
…working closely with the police bureau and the mayor to investigate last night’s shooting. As you have heard mentioned earlier in this press conference, we need cooperation of the public. It is vital that we find answers.
Mike Schmidt: (13:13)
I’m thankful for the officers and the detectives working with Chief Lovell to investigate these crimes, the attorneys from my office that were out all night working with them to help us find answers and put together a proper investigation. I know and expect that the cases of violent acts will be investigated and then submitted to my office for review. We do not prosecute individuals based on ideologies or affiliations with political or nonpolitical organizations. We will initiate a criminal case following a review of all of the evidence and whenever legally and ethically appropriate pursuant to state and constitutional law.
Mike Schmidt: (13:49)
We support freedom of speech. We support nonviolent protests. We support speaking out to improve our communities. We support standing up for each other. What we do not support is violence. We’re in a pivotal time right now. We cannot afford to allow the calls for social justice to end systemic racism to be overshadowed by the continued violence. We cannot allow this critical moment in our history to be hijacked. This is our community and we are strong. We reject violence when it occurs. My office is ready to hold offenders accountable. And together in Dr. King’s words, ” Let’s choose to live together as brothers and sisters and not perish together as fools.” Thank you.
Speaker 1: (14:40)
Thank you, Mike. Okay, we’re going to now open up the floor for questions. And again, identify which outlet you are with, your name, and then your question and who it’s directed at, or maybe in the other order. Who it’s directed at and then your question. And let’s begin. Who’s got a question?
Hillary Borrud: (14:58)
Hillary Borrud from Oregonian.
Speaker 1: (14:59)
Hillary Borrud: (15:00)
I would like to hear from the Mayor and the Chief what kind of planning you had ahead of last night’s demonstration and since it [inaudible 00:15:07] there is a high likelihood of person on person violence.
Speaker 1: (15:11)
Last night we had information that a vehicle caravan was going to come up to Portland from Clackamas County. Early on we didn’t have a good idea of the number, and then once the caravan started, we had a sense of how many were in that caravan. We tried to take precautionary measures during the route to keep them out of the downtown area. The goal was to keep them on I5, but later a group of those vehicles were able to come into the downtown core. We didn’t have any specific information of a gathering where folks would be outside of vehicles, so most of our information previously surrounded the vehicle caravan that would be coming up from Clackamas.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (16:06)
I don’t have much to say beyond that, except that of course we were monitoring the situation on social media and we chose not to publicize it. We didn’t think that would help deescalate the situation or any potential flash points.
Tim [Burden AGW 00:16:19], for the mayor.
Mayor, what are you going to do going forward? I mean, this has been building for a long time. You’ve had [inaudible 00:16:32] now with [inaudible 00:16:35] groups. What are you going to do to keep the same thing that happened last night not escalating further?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (16:41)
Thank you for the question.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (16:43)
Yeah. Obviously I’ve stood at this podium on a number of occasions and I’ve expressed what my greatest fear would be. And I’ve said, my greatest fear is somebody will die. And now somebody has, and we as a community are mourning and I am, as the mayor am accountable to the public and will continue to be accountable.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (17:07)
Here’s the specific steps that we’re taking. Number one, I, along with my colleagues on the city council committed to a number of fundamental reforms, having listened to and understood what nonviolent demonstrators were asking for in the City of Portland. I put forward a 19 point plan that was very specific in terms of actions that we could take, including reducing certain programs within the police bureau that were seen as biased by many people in the Black community in particular. We made commitments to reinvest in the community to a significant degree. We made decisions to engage the public more directly around oversight and accountability. And my colleagues and I referred a significant charter reform to the ballot, which will be on the November ballot when people have an opportunity to cast a vote. I encourage people to vote for that.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (18:04)
We committed to working alongside our colleagues like Lew Frederick, Senator Lew Frederick and State Representative Janelle Bynum on fundamental reforms to criminal justice. And many of those reforms have now been passed in the legislative session. We’ve agreed to continue to work with others in the community, the community level to listen, to hear, to understand and pass fundamental reforms. I’m now engaging with our citizen review commission, as well as the Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing around re-imagining what local policing can look like, what precinct policing can look like.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (18:46)
And there are many other opportunities for us to work with the community directly, and as we proceed with this, I’m going to continue to ask the community to work with me. I’m going to ask our colleagues at Multnomah County to work with me. I’m going to continue to ask the governor and our state legislature to work with me.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (19:04)
And so, this is a long road ahead of us, but we know that the dead end is violence. That is a dead end street. We don’t want to be in that cul-de-sac. We need to focus our energy, focus our passion, focus our attention on the hard work of fundamental reform. And it starts with policing and criminal justice, but then we have a lot of work to do around education, around housing access, around health access, around shared economic prosperity opportunities. We have so much work yet to do, and I don’t want the public to be sidetracked by engaging in violence. That is never the right answer. And so, I’m asking the public to work with us, to continue to do the work that we’ve already engaged in around historic reforms and let’s work together moving forward.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (20:01)
Josh Campbell: (20:02)
Mr.Mayor, Josh Campbell, CNN.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (20:04)
Josh Campbell: (20:04)
This morning the President had some very harsh words for you obviously. He didn’t condemn the violence, but he said that in his words, “It was unexpected,” because of the weeks of [inaudible 00:20:14] violence we’ve seen in the city. What’s your response to that?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (20:17)
My response is, as the President of the United States and somebody who has been perpetrating divisive and hateful language for four years, for him to now stand here and say that it’s unexpected and act as though he’s shocked is appalling to me. We all saw this coming. And as I said, I’ve stood at this podium I don’t know how many times and have said that we must denounce the violence, that we must work together, that we must accurately address what’s going on around systematic injustices in our community here in Portland and hold ourselves accountable for what’s happening here in Portland.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (20:55)
But the president has a role to play in this as well in acknowledging, and understanding those systematic injustices nationally, and the tweets that he has been putting out in the last 48 hours, attacking Democratic Mayors, attacking those who are trying to bring resolution to the violence in their local communities. He has an opportunity to uplift us and bring us together and help us move through this difficult situation in our nation’s history, and instead he chooses to play petty politics and divide us. That’s my reaction. I’m going to do the work that I need to do here in my local community with my local officials to take accountability for what’s happening on our streets. And I’d appreciate that either the President support us, or he stay the hell out of the way.
Josh Campbell: (21:43)
[inaudible 00:21:43] what he appeared to be saying was that because of the violence, he’s not surprised that there would be this other group coming in. What’s your response to that?
Mike Schmidt: (21:50)
Well, of course he’s not surprised. He encouraged them to come into our community. And previously he has actually encouraged, or at least tacitly approved of violence. And so, I’m not surprised in the slightest. I’m surprised if he would be surprised by this. Yeah, there’s an olive branch opportunity here for all of us. We need to reset. The President needs to reset. I need to reset. This community needs to reset. And America needs to reset, and it’s going to take his leadership in the white house, and it’s going to take my leadership here in City Hall to get it done.
Mike Schmidt: (22:26)
And so, I’m saying, let’s end this summer. Let’s end the violence. Let’s commit to that. Is that something we can all agree on? That we are done with the violence. And now let’s do the hard work of acknowledging, of hearing and understanding the pain, and the suffering, and the fear, and the anxiety that exists in this nation around the COVID crisis, which the president initially seemed to be ignoring or pooh-poohing, and the economic crisis, which is now resulting causing so many Americans economic stress and strain.
Mike Schmidt: (22:55)
And now the work that we have to do in our communities across this nation, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, I’m up to that challenge. And I hope the President is too, and I’m ready to reach across any aisles I need to reach across, any political divides that I need to cross, in order to bring us back together. Somebody’s got to do it. I’m committed to it. I know my colleagues on the Portland City are committed to it. I’d like to hear the President of The United States say he’s all in. Let’s bring this great nation back together.
Speaker 2: (23:25)
[inaudible 00:10:29]. You talked about community, and you talked about [inaudible 00:23:34] a number of civil rights groups [inaudible 00:23:38] this morning. What’s your response to that?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (23:39)
Speaker 3: (23:39)
Mayor, I have a question.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (23:39)
Speaker 3: (23:43)
We’ve heard you talk about accountability, police reform, [inaudible 00:23:46]. Do you have a plan though, for keeping groups apart? I mean, we didn’t see much of it yesterday in terms of keeping these folks apart. We certainly didn’t see it last week. Is there any strategy going forward as this sort of escalates that we can somehow keep folks apart? Especially as you said, people are Tweeting about coming in.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (24:04)
We were very successful back on August 17th, you’ll recall. A year ago of keeping parties separated who had made it very clear on social media that they intended to get into it with each other. And what we did was we built a coalition, both of law enforcement, local, state, and federal law enforcement to come together to keep the parties those who might engage in violence apart.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (24:32)
But what we also had was the community unified several days prior, we had 120 different community organizations. Organizations that they don’t all have the same politics, they don’t all have the same representation. But we came together on that day, and we said, “We as a city do not stand for violence. We do not tolerate violence.” And that’s the kind of coalition that we’re missing right now. We don’t have elected officials on the same page, denouncing violence. We don’t have community organizations coming together, collectively in that kind of way, with that kind of single-minded determination and focus to denounce violence, and talk about the vision for the future.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (25:16)
But specifically, operationally, I’ll defer to the Chief except to say that we are in conversations with our Portland Police Bureau, our County Sheriff’s Office, the Governor and her team about the strategy going forward to do the best we can to number one, create space for people to be able to demonstrate peacefully like those outside the room right now. And on the other hand, make it crystal clear, we do not tolerate violence. We do not tolerate criminal destruction, and we will hold you accountable for those activities.
Speaker 3: (25:53)
Have you asked the Governor for National Guard involvement [inaudible 00:25:54] last night?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (25:54)
As you know, on two prior occasions, I have asked the Governor for the National Guard. She declined in those two circumstances, but we are in communication…
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (26:03)
She declined in those two circumstances, but we are in communication now. It is my belief that between PPB, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office and the state police, we have been successfully throughout this, in terms of operations when we’re combined and when we’re collaborating and I am told by our law enforcement professionals that that is sufficient, but I’ll defer to the chief.
Speaker 4: (26:24)
Mayor Wheeler, you mentioned that you [crosstalk 00:26:27].
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (26:27)
Did you want to say something on that?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (26:28)
No. Go ahead.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (26:29)
Got it. Sorry.
Speaker 4: (26:31)
Mayor Wheeler, you mentioned that you feared that something like this could happen. Given that, how come the city didn’t take action and over the weekend to prevent something like this?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (26:38)
Well, I’m not sure how you specifically operationally can prevent this. And keep in mind, it’s no secret to anybody that I personally am not a Trump supporter. But I will defend to the death, the right of a Trump supporter to stand outside my apartment and nonviolently demonstrate in support of their candidate. That’s core to American democracy, is that right to demonstrate freely without the fear of retribution.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (27:11)
When people say they want to come into the city in a caravan supporting their presidential candidate, we cannot tell them no, they have constitutional rights to be her rights, which I embrace and support. The violence, however, is the problem. And so, what I’m asking people right now, knowing what happened last night is if you’re thinking you’re going to come back into our city from somewhere else to seek retribution, I’m telling you to stay away, work with us, help us deescalate this situation.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (27:41)
One death is too many. We don’t want other people to die. That’s what I’m asking people from outside to do. What I’m asking all of us as Portlanders to do is do our part, too. Let’s not take the bait. Let’s not engage. And if you see people doing things that look violent or destructive, say something, do something. Don’t just be passive. Because ultimately, when we see examples of violence, that undermines our democracy. This democracy is dependent upon us having differences of opinion and being able to vet differences of opinion. And being able to have uncomfortable conversations without resorting to violence. I’ve asked the president to do his part. I will do my part, too. We both have an important role to play. We will both be held accountable. Hi, [Bridget 00:02:32].
Why did we not see police presence? We’ve seen, heavy police presence at other protests. Just after this, but now why are we seeing a lack of force outside of all these protests this weekend and last weekend?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (28:47)
We had a strong presence yesterday. Most of this activity was vehicle born, covering several miles on the highways. So we did have officers and vehicles. We had our traffic division. We had folks stationed at different areas, but it’s very difficult when you have small groups of people spread throughout the city, too. Sometimes engage in violence acts with each other. And we only have a limited resources, so we can’t be everywhere at the same time. The prior Saturday, we had, I think about 30 officers working. I mean, our resources were strained. We had an event the night before that required our crowd control resources.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (29:24)
We had to staff for an event Saturday night, later that night, and also still answer calls for service. We were only able to bring together that limited amount of resources for the Saturday afternoon portion. And it’s just not always operationally feasible to insert that small number of officers in between two crowds who were hostile towards one another and engage. It’s just not necessarily operationally safe all the time to get in the middle of that.
Speaker 4: (29:49)
Well, how many arrests have you made?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (29:52)
In which case?
Speaker 4: (29:53)
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (29:55)
No, not at this time.
Speaker 5: (29:56)
Chief, can you say how many officers you had on last night? 30 last weekend, how many this weekend?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (30:01)
I don’t know the exact number. I’d have to go back and check, but we can get that to you.
Speaker 5: (30:04)
That would be great.
Speaker 6: (30:07)
Chief, the organizers of the rally yesterday, the Trump rally, said on a video that was posted on social media that you [inaudible 00:30:13] closely with law enforcement. Did they have a permit? Did they have some kind of permit and how closely did you work together with that group before the rally started? [inaudible 00:04:20]?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (30:21)
Sure, to my knowledge, we had spoken to folks to try to get a sense of what the route would be and encourage the route to not be through the downtown core.
Speaker 6: (30:29)
Did you have a commitment that that would be the case?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (30:31)
I don’t know if we had a commitment, but I know we had conversations around it.
Speaker 7: (30:36)
Chief, you’ve spoken about officers slashing tires when there’s a need for their safety. Last night, we saw the worst videos of vehicles running, driving towards, across people and officers were there, as well. Why were those tactics not used yesterday?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (30:51)
Would it depend on the circumstance? I think vehicles and protestors on foot are just a bad mix, in general. And I think given the opportunity, if we feel a vehicle poses some sort of threat to either officers or community members, disabling it by disabling the tires is an option. That’s not always feasible though, depending on where officers are positioned, where the vehicle’s position and things of that nature.
Speaker 8: (31:14)
Chief, there have [crosstalk 00:31:17].
Speaker 9: (31:15)
I mean, this has the potential to be very violent if there are new people coming to seek retribution. Walk us through what your plan is.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (31:23)
I haven’t talked to my incident command folks yet. I know we’re reaching out to partners to try to resource properly for tonight. I’m not sure what we have in the way of intelligence, but it’s very possible that what happened last night could play a factor in what happens tonight. We want to make sure we reached out to everyone we can to get the proper resources in place.
Dana Haynes: (31:42)
Chief, [Dana Haynes 00:00:31:43] from the Portland Tribune. In 2018 and ’19, we had protests that were right versus left in Ralston Park. In 2020, we’ve got the Black Lives Matter and the systemic racism violence. Was last night’s one of those or and not the other? Or has the Venn diagram got that such that they’re blurred?
Dana Haynes: (32:01)
Was that a brawl in the park like we saw back in 2019? Was that a Black Lives Matters. Have you been able to isolate what happened last night, as far as the nature of it?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (32:13)
I don’t think I’d be able to classify kind of the nature of that particular interaction. To me, it could have just been a skirmish between two small groups or a problem that erupted between individuals. It’s hard for me to classify it as more of a Black Lives Matter thing, or like a political ideology case. But I think as we get further into the investigation, we might learn more.
Speaker 10: (32:36)
Chief. Some of the folks with the caravan were, had paintball guns, bear spray, they, when people protesting in front of crosswalks and a cars were driving through and almost running over them. Are you going to be seeking any to build any cases of those, against those in the video?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (32:55)
Potentially, it would depend what information comes forward for us. We were able to make, I think about 10 arrests on individual skirmishes or things that happened that we could identify and take action on. But I mean, with a caravan that big covering that much area, we used our resources to really keep people safe. But if we do get information that leads to a prosecutable case, we’ll follow up on that.
Speaker 11: (33:19)
Chief, [crosstalk 00:07:20].
Speaker 12: (33:20)
[crosstalk 00:33:20] mentioned concerned about misinformation. Can you give us any information on the victim and create some clarity here?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (33:26)
I don’t have any specific information on the victim that I can release at this time. But I do know as, as these kinds of transpire, social media becomes very rampant with information, which isn’t always factual. I just want to make people mindful, be careful what you believe on social media. We’re investigating, we’ll be releasing information at different steps of the process. And we’ll keep you guys posted, then.
Speaker 11: (33:53)
Do you know if the shooting was politically motivated?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (33:56)
I do not know that. No.
Speaker 13: (33:57)
Chief. I’m Mike, from The New York Times. You’re saying, or we’ve seen basically your peers gotten shots fire from both sides, if you want to call it two sides here, in the last few weeks. If you’re saying it’s operationally not feasible to keep those two sides of apart. What’s going to stop this from escalating to an open firefight in the streets?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (34:22)
I hope it doesn’t come to that. We have a finite resource of officers and we have these activities taking place all throughout the city. The downtown core, our police precincts, our union offices and several random places. We can’t be everywhere at once. The issue with firearms is very troubling to us, but people do have a constitutional right to carry firearms legally.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (34:46)
It’s hard to prevent. I mean, some of the instances that take place, you’re talking split second, a couple of seconds. A lot of times we’re right there to see things happen. I think the best we can do is message to people that we want a safe city. And we asked them not to come downtown or to these other places with firearms, not engage in violent acts of crime.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (35:07)
And I think, where we can, we have our resources station and we take action when we can. We’ve made several hundred arrests throughout these protests. We’ve been out there 90 plus nights, straight doing our best to keep the city safe and to keep these interactions from happening. But it’s hard to be in absolutes and say, “We can be here and prevent these skirmishes from happening.”
Speaker 4: (35:30)
Are you close to meeting with the National Guard?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (35:32)
I think we need additional resources. I think Oregon State Police have been a great partner for us. Multnomah County has been a great partner for us. As we see these things develop, it may get to that point. But I think right now it’s really kind of determining what we have available as far as resources and what we’re facing as far as violent crowd activity.
Speaker 4: (35:55)
What would be the reason not to call the National Guard? Like, what’s the hesitancy there?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (36:00)
I don’t have a hesitancy one way or the other. I think if it comes to the point where we look at our resources and we look at the problem facing us, and that seems like the best option to assist and that’s what’ll need to happen.
Speaker 14: (36:12)
For the chief or the mayor, are you considering it curfews at this point?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (36:21)
I’m not sure, honestly, I probably will know more after I talk to my incident management team folks. But we had a curfew early on in this and it wasn’t very successful. We still had very large crowds at that time. But I would say it’s not something that’s totally off the table, but it’s not something I don’t think we’re looking at at this moment. I’m going to, I’m sorry you-
Speaker 15: (36:37)
Last night, there was lots of pockets of violence. Some of those persons in that group throwing paintballs, mace, just like… We didn’t see any police officers for most of these. And so, I’m asking, were you trying to insert yourself and [inaudible 00:36:50] through? Or were you saying, “Because you don’t have enough officers, you’re going to stay away and just let this play out?”
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (36:58)
No, we had our resources focused on the vehicular part of the event yesterday. There were some skirmishes that took place on the street to my understanding. But when we have those resources and even the homicide last night, we had resources nearby. They just weren’t right there when it happened.
Speaker 15: (37:16)
Just a follow-up real quick. I mean, well, I’m thinking of like police officers, visible. There was some police officers visible. This fight could go on for a while. Are you thinking about adding just plain, like police officers on corners and stuff just to have a presence?
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (37:31)
That’s possible. But I think for us, it’s like, where can we deploy officers where they’re safe? It doesn’t help to have one officer in a place where they’re kind of in the middle of something and can’t respond and don’t have cover to keep themselves safe.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell: (37:44)
I think it’s really a resource issue in that, how do we operationalize the most effective groups of officers in places? But we never know where these are going to take place. We have an idea of where this caravan of vehicles is going, so we focus there. Throughout the downtown core, there’s a lot of street corners, parking structures, things of that nature, where these things can happen. And it’s hard to have officers at all of these at all times.
Speaker 16: (38:10)
I have a question for the mayor. Thank you. You mentioned the importance of civilian coalition right now to come up with and you say in particular. A number, and you mentioned the coalition that was around for August 17th, and the main focus of having that backing. A number of groups within that coalition are the groups that are calling for your resignation. And while you aren’t going to resign, obviously you’re not thinking of resigning. I’m curious, just your thoughts on how you can reach, speak to those coalition members so they can actually have your back and [inaudible 00:38:44] hopefully.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (38:44)
That’s a fantastic question and I appreciate you asking. The question is how do I create the same coalition I created last August when some of the members of the coalition are in fact calling for my resignation? And the answer is because it’s not all about me. It’s about the community. It’s about who we are. It’s about who we want to be. And it’s about taking a stand against violence.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (39:03)
… want to be and it’s about taking a stand against violence. And even last year, a number of those coalition groups spoke out against me at the press conference which I had organized, and I was okay with it. Because it’s okay to have differences of opinion when it comes to politics.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (39:20)
But what isn’t okay and where we should have no difference of opinion is when it comes to violence. We should all stand together. And it doesn’t matter what our political affiliations are, whether we like each other. We should stand together because we denounce violence, and we know that it’s not the right way to solve our political differences.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (39:42)
And so I will continue to reach out to whoever will work with me to denounce violence and bring this to a peaceful conclusion. I will reach out to whoever wants to work with me and my colleagues as we move forward on re-imagining what policing could be so that it’s equitable for everybody. And for those who don’t want to work with me, maybe they’d work with one of my colleagues. Or maybe they’d work with Mike or maybe they’d work with the chief. This is an all-hands-on-deck call. And so in the days ahead, that’s what we’re doing.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (40:16)
In fact, this morning, I spoke to a number of leaders in the black community and talked about the importance of not only their engagement, but the importance of their leadership as we move forward, because ultimately, the community will listen to them, I believe, at a time when we’re having this national reckoning around racial justice and equity and police reform. And so we’ll continue to work to build the coalitions that we can to stand in opposition to the violence.
Mayor, following up on that, if I could.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (40:47)
President Trump is watching this right now, because he’s just on his favorite medium. He’s talking about you. And he has a number of negative things say about you, but he says that, “Wheeler would like to blame me and the federal government for going in, but he hasn’t seen anything yet.” Do you take that as a threat to send in more federal forces or do you think that just continues this ongoing saga?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (41:09)
It’s classic Trump. Mr. President, how can you think that a comment like that, if you’re watching this, is in any way helpful? It’s an aggressive stance. It is not collaborative. I certainly reached out. I believe in a collaborative manner by saying earlier that you need to do your part and I need to do my part and then we both need to be held accountable. And I think it would be helpful not for me to tell you how to do your job because frankly, I don’t appreciate it when you tell me how to do mine, but this would be a really good time for all of us to stand together, to lock arms, to denounce the violence, to make a commitment to the kind of changes and reforms that the people in this country are demanding, and let’s work together. Wouldn’t that be a message? Donald Trump and Ted Wheeler working together to help move this country forward. Why don’t we try that for a change?
Have you spoken to the President?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (42:02)
No, I’ve never met the president.
Mayor, if I could follow up on something. Joanne Hardesty’s coming up with a plan to transition herself as police commissioner. What do you think about that?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (42:10)
She and I have had many conversations about bureaus. She knows that we will be making a bureau shift in the near term as commissioner-elect Ryan joins us in just about a week and a half. And I have had had a number of conversations with Dan. I have no plans to transfer the police bureau at this point. When we know what the constitution of the council is in January, everything’s on the table.
When you mention this idea of responsibility, here in Portland the buck stops with you. Do you think you’re taking enough responsibility for the violence we’ve seen from the protests in Portland?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (42:43)
I ask myself that question every day. I go to bed with that question foremost in my mind, and when I wake up in the morning, that’s the first question I ask myself. Am I doing everything that I possibly can to end the violence in this community?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (42:58)
Am I doing everything I possibly can to hear and understand different perspectives about what people want our community to be and how they want to envision it going forward? Am I doing everything that I can to meaningfully engage the community as we go through this time of crisis together?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (43:16)
Make no mistake about it. This is a very challenging time for everyone. There’s a lot of anxiety. There’s a lot of fear. This is a time when this generation is being called to rise up. And I ask myself, “What more do I need to do?”, at each and every moment.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (43:35)
And sometimes, honestly, I have found myself coming up short. And when I come up short, I acknowledge it, I admit it, and then I move on. I fix what needs to be fixed, and I work with whoever I need to work with to make things right. And that’s the path that we’re on.
Mayor Wheeler, I’m [inaudible 00:04:51]-
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (43:50)
So there was just this palpable sense of, something might go wrong yesterday. I think it’s a fairly predictable outcome when you have two diametrically opposed groups meeting in this fashion. Would you say the city did everything in its power to avoid this outcome?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (44:08)
It’s hard for me to stand here today with a human being dead and say we did everything we possibly could. Either myself individually, as the mayor of this city, or people in the community at large, it’s hard for me to sit here and make that proclamation over somebody who has lost their lives. And I think about that family and what they’re going through today.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (44:37)
So I can’t make that statement today. And I think it would be preposterous for me to do so. But I’m certainly being introspective. I’m working with my team and others. And we’re talking about how do we make sure that that is the only time somebody dies on the streets of our city that way. It was one too many. Thank you.
Speaker 17: (45:05)
All right. Any other questions for either Chuck Lovell or Mike Schmidt, the district attorney?
Rich Reed: (45:11)
Well, one for Mike Schmidt. Rich Reed with the L.A. Times. The President said that you were looking the other way on some of these crimes and not prosecuting. Would you respond to that?
Mike Schmidt: (45:26)
So the question is in reference to the policy that I put out on August 11th. That policy very specifically allows my office to work with PPB to focus our effort on violent crime. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re putting all of our resources towards that. I had a deputy out all last night at the crime scene with detectives working this case. We’ve had gun violence, homicides happening across our community. Domestic violence is up. We are prioritizing the resources of the district attorney’s office to continue to work on violent crime.
I have a question that’s not directly related to last night, just in general. In your press events before, you mentioned the importance of [inaudible 00:46:09] in looking past 90 days. Are there any instances where you feel like you could have charged a police officer for violence against an unruly culprit?
Mike Schmidt: (46:18)
Like many people, I wake up most mornings and I get the update from the police. I look at media coverage. I go on to Twitter, like everybody else, see clips, and of course I’ve seen things that I think do not look appropriate. But the question you’re asking really requires us to gather evidence and do more than just see a video clip online.
Mike Schmidt: (46:44)
There’s a process for that. The independent police review takes reports. I recommend any member of the community that has those types of allegations to reach out to IPR. The Bureau has the internal affairs division. They look at those things. We work with both of those organizations. Once we have enough evidence together to see whether or not the law was broken, and where the law is broken, we are going to apply the law equally, just like we would to anybody else.
Mike Schmidt: (47:13)
But I got to say, we look together with our partners. We have to make cases. That’s interviewing witnesses, video clips, getting all information that we possibly can. And that is underway in certain circumstances right now, both with IPR and internal affairs division. So we continue to partner with them, and when we have prosecutable cases, we will take those.
Nick with KGW again. Just one last question for the mayor. It really seems like there are a lot of people out there who are angry. There are probably people who are going to seek retribution. What are you doing besides asking them to stay home?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (47:58)
So first of all, there are people who on social media say they’re going to come to Portland and seek retribution. First of all, I would say they don’t know what they’re seeking retribution for. The investigation is still underway, and even our police chief doesn’t have enough facts to be able to suggest that retribution … Retribution for what, at this point?
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (48:24)
Number two, we are meeting later this afternoon, local, regional and state law enforcement, and we will discuss a strategy, because we’re aware of the fact that this could be a potential flashpoint. And so that’s why I’m asking people if you’re from out of town and you’re reading something on social media, please understand if you’re reading any facts on social media, they’re probably wrong because we don’t have all the facts yet. That’s why the investigative unit is out on the street right now.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (48:53)
That’s why they are talking to witnesses. That’s why they are working with local businesses to gain access to any film footage they may have about what happened last night. And they are still assembling the facts. So this is not the time to get hot headed because you read something on Twitter that some guy made up in his mother’s basement. That’s not the right time or the right place.
Mayor Ted Wheeler: (49:16)
So let’s wait. Let’s get the facts. And then let’s collectively work together to address the violence that we’re facing. I don’t think anybody, anybody from any political persuasion wants to see anybody else die. I don’t, you don’t. Let’s all work together and make sure that doesn’t happen. Thank you.
Speaker 17: (49:37)
Okay. That’s it. We’re out of time, folks. I appreciate everybody being patient upfront. Thank Mayor Wheeler, Chief Lovell, and District Attorney’s Schmidt. If you have any other questions to the mayor’s office, you can just put them forward to me. You know how to get ahold of me. Thank you all.