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Portland police aren't stopping chaos

This week, a crowd of 100 people caused havoc in Portland, Oregon. They smashed storefront windows and set dumpsters ablaze, causing damage estimated at $500,000, but police officers weren't able to stop them.

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Portland police aren't stopping chaos

Officials at the Portland Police Bureau claim that this is because of Oregon legislation, which limits their ability to deal with vandals and other criminals.

"The reason we didn't intervene is because of what we discussed last month with House Bill 292 and the restrictions we placed in a crowd control atmosphere," KOIN reported Portland Police Lt. Jake Jensen stated in a neighborhood meeting on Thursday.

Portlanders were frustrated by Tuesday's latest round of violent demonstrations and asked if that meant there was anything to be done in Portland.

Linda Witt asked police, "Does this mean that we are now like an unruly city?" Jensen said that people could still face consequences later.

House Bill 292 is the legislation at issue. It prohibits the use rubber bullets and pepper spray for crowd control. There is one exception: when there are riots and the officer using chemical incapacitant reasonably believes that it is necessary to stop or prevent further destructive behavior.

Christine Drazan, House Minority Leader, stated that the law allows Portland Police to use effective methods to control violent crowds. Christine Drazan spoke to The Associated Press Friday. "But, activist lawyers are intentionally misinterpreting legislation to stop police from intervening. They are not authorized to put law enforcement and safety in danger.

Portland Police Sergeant. Kevin Allen stated to AP that Portland Police Sgt.

Allen stated that until we get clarity on the bill, we must follow the most restrictive interpretation.

Multiple requests for comment from Mayor Ted Wheeler's offices were not answered by his office on Friday. The Democratic Party controls the Legislature and lawmakers from the Democratic legislative caucuses did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Since the Minneapolis police shooting of George Floyd, Portland has witnessed a series of violent protests. Some protestors have voiced concern that the police responded too forcefully to their murder.

Police say that 35 locations were targeted by police on Tuesday -- including retail stores, banks, coffee shops, government buildings, and coffee shops.

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