Chief Day Condemns Violent Behavior During PSU Chief's Medical Emergency

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Portland Police Badge

May 24, 2024 16:58


Statement from Chief Bob Day about May 23, 2024 PSU incident:

I’m grateful that Chief Willie Halliburton is recovering from Thursday night’s medical scare. I’ve appreciated his leadership through the recent protest events and value his collaboration and longstanding ties to PPB. All of us at Portland Police sincerely wish him the best in his recovery.

I’d like to address last night’s criminal behavior at the Neuberger Center (RMNC) building, in which police officers were assaulted and harassed, and lifesaving medical care was delayed for Chief Halliburton. It baffles me that these actions are being portrayed as legitimate political protest.

PPB officers responded to assist Portland State University Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO) regarding protesters chaining themselves to the doors and blocking access. PPB formed a line to allow PSU officers room to make appropriate arrests. However, the crowd became extraordinarily hostile and surrounded the officers. As PSU officers tried to transport arrested persons away, the crowd blocked the garage exit. One officer was spit in the face, and at least 2 others were punched. Likely their protective gear kept them from being injured by the physical assaults. Equally concerning, officers notified the group that a medical emergency was underway. But they refused to move, and officers had to forcibly push their way out to ensure that medical care could be brought in.

The American Civil Liberties Union, its protesters rights resource page ( ), makes it clear that people “have the right to speak out on other public property, like plazas in front of government buildings, as long as you are not blocking access to the government building or interfering with other purposes the property was designed for.”

Civil disobedience, meaning violating the law as a means of protest, has a long, time-honored legacy in our country of bringing attention to injustice. But civil disobedience means that the people engaged in it are accepting the legal consequences for their actions. They should never resist arrest, attempt to assault police, and others should never interfere with such arrests.

Again, quoting the ACLU’s guidance, if stopped by police, people should “stay calm. Make sure to keep your hands visible. Don’t argue, resist, or obstruct the police, even if you believe they are violating your rights.” I agree and would add that if people believe their rights are being violated, there are other avenues for getting that addressed, including the court system and the Independent Police Review. The actions of those who engaged in criminal conduct last night were not an appropriate response, unnecessarily escalated the situation, and could have had life-threatening consequences for Chief Halliburton. If that kind of criminal behavior continues, PPB policy and the law recognize that members may use objectively reasonable force to uphold the civil rights of all individuals, protect human life and property, and maintain civil order.



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