Topline

A 2018 document used to train police in Portland, Oregon, included a far-right meme joking about violence against protesters, the city revealed Friday, drawing outrage from the city’s mayor — a revelation that comes as Portland faces criticism about its handling of 2020 protests.

Key Facts

The 110-page slideshow — released Friday in a lawsuit against the city and republished by The Oregonian — instructs police on tactics for controlling riots and protests, but its final slide contains a mock prayer that celebrates brutalizing demonstrators.

The meme – which originated in far-right circles, local news outlets noted – features a photo of a helmet-clad person striking a civilian, overlaid with text that suggests “dirty hippy” protesters should be “cuffed and stuffed” and “stitched and bandaged.”

In a statement Friday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said it isn’t clear who created the “unauthorized” slide or whether it was actually used during a police training session.

Wheeler said the slideshow first came to the city’s attention in September, prompting a still-ongoing internal affairs probe, and Portland officials initially didn’t release the document publicly to safeguard the investigation’s integrity.

Chief Critic

“I am disgusted that this offensive content was added to a training presentation for our police officers,” Wheeler said in his Friday statement.

Key Background

The slideshow was disclosed amid a lawsuit from the activist group Don’t Shoot Portland over the city police department’s response to a series of tense protests in 2020. The protests — part of a nationwide wave of demonstrations initially sparked by the police killing of George Floyd — sometimes led to vandalism, and the city has faced steep criticism and several lawsuits for responding with tear gas and aggressive crowd control tactics. Federal law enforcement agents also cracked down in summer 2020, drawing criticism.

Further Reading

Portland police training on protests ends with slide showing mock prayer for ‘dirty hippy,’ prompts investigation (The Oregonian)

Source: Forbes – Business

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