Portland mayor bans police use of tear gas shortly after rioters target his own home

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PORTLAND, OR – They say timing is everything, which means that the timing of any effort can wield good results or catastrophic ones.

So it will be interesting to see what comes of Portland now that the mayor has banned the use of CS gas by police at protests and riots after over three months of these going on nightly.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has ordered Portland Police to cease the use of CS gas, effective immediately.

While there were orders delivered back in June that heavily regulated when said CS gas could be deployed, now the crowd control asset has been completely removed from the proverbial table.

For the sake of clarity, this ban doesn’t have anything to do with barring OC spray (commonly referred to as pepper spray by most folks).

The delineation between CS gas versus OC spray, outside of the chemical compositions, is that CS deployment can be indiscriminate with how it spreads whereas OC spray is something that can have the mist of stream directed.

However, there is also the fact that OC is something that has to be deployed in close proximity, while CS could afford authorities a safe distance when trying to break up large riotous crowds.

In an emailed statement from Mayor Wheeler noting the ban of CS gas, he mentioned the following:

“During the last hundred days Portland, Multnomah County and State Police have all relied on CS gas where there is a threat to life safety. We need something different. We need it now.”

It’s unclear what exactly the mayor could imagine when it pertains to something in the less-lethal range that is also as effective or more than CS gas to break up riotous crowds. It’s not as though police can set up some large, netted booby traps to scoop up rioters like they were villains in a Scooby-Doo episode.

The mayor is attempting to frame this as some kind of quid-pro-quo for the rioters it seems, in that he’s noting that he’s taken a step toward reducing force and that he hopes the rioters will take a step back as well:

“I call on everyone to step up and tamp down the violence. I’m acting. It’s time for others to join me.”

But those among the peanut gallery are extremely skeptical that this will turn out the way that the mayor hopes.

One Twitter user opined on the issue, in a rather sarcastic manner but also potential outcome of this measure, with the following:

“Cool. Now the Portland PD will have to club these clowns like baby seals. The optics is going to be soooooo much better now. Ted Wheeler has got to be the worst mayor in America, and he has a lot of competition too.”

Others online are saying that for all the restrictions that Mayor Wheeler is trying to impose upon officers, then perhaps the mayor should stand on the frontlines with said officers to ascertain just how bad things can be when stripped of non-lethal resources:

“As police commissioner putting all these restrictions on his officers. He should go out there with them. Let’s see how long those restrictions last.”

Now keep in mind, this order by the mayor comes just under two weeks from when rioters targeted the very home of Mayor Wheeler.  

On the evening of August 31st, a crowd of roughly 200 people had gathered outside Mayor Wheeler’s condominium tower, with malefactors shattering windows and breaking into a local dental office to steal items to light ablaze. Among the items stolen were a chair and various office supplies.

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During the display, those among the riot were said to have been wearing party hats, as this evening happened to fall on Mayor Wheeler’s birthday.

Just after 11:00 p.m. that evening, a stack of newspapers was set on fire and thrown into the ground level portion of the condominium tower which holds 114 residences within it. While the flames didn’t spread and were quickly extinguished, police announced at that time that the “protest” had become an unlawful assembly and eventually elevated to a riot.

Police were said to have arrested 19 people during the riot for various charges, with eight of the arrestees being charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.

It is unclear with will become of those charges, considering that the Portland DA announced recently that he wouldn’t be pursuing a myriad of charges akin to what officers arrested people for on August 31st.

However, two of those arrested were alleged to have been carrying concealed weapons during the riot, with one of them being charged with assaulting an officer.

Also, Portland has had an issue as of late with rioters and miscreants trying to proclaim they’re “members of the press” in order to continue contributing to the anarchy.

Video captured from the riots show police taking one alleged “press member” in custody, considering that police did warn that there wouldn’t be any exceptions afforded to legal observers if they engaged in criminal conduct.

With all things considered, is the banning of CS gas the best idea – especially after things managed to hit so close to home (literally) for the mayor? That remains to be seen, but hindering police’s access to less lethal means of crowd control can only have so may outcomes. 

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