Portland Mayor bans tear gas by police

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The mayor of Portland, the largest city in Oregon where protesters have been protesting police brutality in the United States for more than 100 days, on Thursday officially banned police from using tear gas for law enforcement.

• Read also: Tear gas and molotov cocktails for the 100th night of protest in Portland

• Read also: Another night of protests and arrests in Portland

Yet elected Democrat, Ted Wheeler is systematically shouted at by activists from “Black Lives Matter” and other anti-fascist demonstrators who have been in the streets every night since the death of George Floyd, a black forty-something asphyxiated under the knee of a white policeman at the end of May in Minneapolis.

They reproach him in particular with his double hat as mayor and chief of police, and for not having kept his commitments to reduce racial discrimination and police brutality which they believe target inhabitants from ethnic minorities.

Portland Mayor bans tear gas by police

“It’s time for everyone to reduce violence in our community. We all want the change … justice for black people and all people of color, ”said Ted Wheeler in a short taped announcement.

“That is why, as Chief of Police, with immediate effect and until further notice, I instruct Portland Police to stop using tear gas for law enforcement,” he said. announced the mayor.

Portland Mayor bans tear gas by police

“During the last hundred days,” Oregon City, County and State police officers “have all used tear gas when there was a threat to the safety of people. We need something else. We need it now, ”he adds.

The protests held almost every night in various parts of Portland, sometimes very residential, frequently ended in thick clouds of irritant gas.

On September 5, the hundredth night of protest, the police had dispersed a demonstration which marched towards a police station with a rolling fire of tear gas canisters. Hundreds of residents, often families with children, found themselves immersed in the smell of tear gas seeping into the living rooms and bedrooms.

Mayor Ted Wheeler was heavily criticized on social media following the incident.

Many of the police intervening that evening were state policemen who do not answer to the mayor but to the governor, and therefore should not be subject to the ban. The announcement therefore left some activists on social networks perplexed on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the city of Portland had already banned the use of facial recognition technologies by all municipal departments, including police.

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