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Portland Police Chief Addresses Citizen-Assisted Arrests


Thousands of people converged on downtown Portland Sunday, June 4, 2017, for a Trump Free Speech Rally and a series of counter-protests. The demonstrations came a little more than a week after the fatal stabbing of two men on a light-rail train by a man police say was shouting anti-Muslim slurs.

Portland Police and federal officers have been under scrutiny for some of the tactics they used this past weekend to manage crowds at competing left- and right-wing rallies

Video and photographs from the scene, including shots by OPB digital producer Bryan M. Vance, show members of self-styled militia groups such as the Oath Keepers and the III Percent United Patriots helping federal law enforcement officers from the Department of Homeland Security detain at least one counter-demonstrator.  

While Portland officers did not appear to be directly involved with the citizen-assisted arrests, Police Chief Mike Marshman addressed those arrests Tuesday on OPB’s “Think Out Loud.”

“It’s not uncommon if an officer is struggling with somebody or trying to arrest somebody, for a member of the public to come up and either render assistance, or just ask. So that’s not that uncommon,” Marshman said.

A member of the Oath Keepers helps police officers detain a protester during the dueling rallies in Portland, Oregon, June 4, 2017.

A member of the Oath Keepers helps police officers detain a protester during the dueling rallies in Portland, Oregon, June 4, 2017.

Bryan M. Vance/OPB

“Though, that said, I understand where at times it might look bad or there’s going to be competing interests placed on us,” he added.

Gregory McKelvey, an organizer for Portland’s Resistance, took to Medium on Monday to say Portland police stood by and watched as the self-styled militia groups tackled people.

“They were working with the police,” McKelvey said. “As in tackling people, handcuffing people, and clearing entire areas. The cops acted as if the alt-right was Portland’s Justice League of vigilantes.”

The Portland Mercury also reported Tuesday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is reviewing at least one arrest that a militia member assisted.

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