March 25, 2023

Police officer who bragged about beating protesters suspended

A police officer in the US state of Oregon has been suspended following his use of social media to brag about hitting protesters.

Police Chief Mike Navarre said on Wednesday that a post was inappropriate and unprofessional.

The unnamed officer had shared a photo of himself wearing riot gear and holding a baton, with the caption Stood there all night keeping these two from each other’s throats. DONE

Navarre said he would not release information about how long the suspension would last, adding that it depended on whether an investigation found any criminal wrongdoing.

The officer had been assigned to report from a supermarket, where protesters were expected to gather after a rally against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Some of the 2,000 people who attended that event reportedly threw bottles at police and tried to block traffic before marching away.

It was not immediately clear whether the person the officer hit was one of the protesters.

Earlier this week Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler asked the federal government to revoke a permit given to right-wing demonstrators allowing them to use a federal plaza as a staging ground for a rally against US immigration policies on Sunday.

The mayor said his main concern was that they would bring guns and end up provoking unrest in the city, which has been rocked by protests over the deaths of several people shot by police in recent years.

The officers’ union issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was not their job to take political positions or choose which laws to enforce.

Portland Police Association president Daryl Turner added that people were free to criticize officers for what they did, but not for what they stood for as individuals.

The rally went ahead as planned, with hundreds of people gathering on a Portland waterfront park before marching to City Hall and the venue where the demonstrators had been earlier barred from entering.

Reading this article made me think about how much energy is wasted by American police officers over-policing non-violent political gatherings. They are not inciting anything except their egos by acting like this.

The Portland Police Association should be ashamed of itself for allowing one of its members to brag about physically assaulting unarmed people attending a non-violent event. Even if the officer did not hit anyone, he was bragging about being prepared to hurt people who were not posing any threat to him.

This kind of behavior is the polar opposite of everything police should stand for. It damages public trust in law enforcement and makes it harder for officers to protect the community they serve. Officers need to be held accountable for their actions because their decisions can result in people getting hurt or killed, not because they are expressing themselves or because their superiors think they are just being cute or funny.