‘The most horrific displays of hate I’ve ever seen’ | Portland police describe protests (full video)
•Aug 6, 2020
Raw interview: Three members of the Portland Police Bureau spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon to share personal experiences while working the front lines of Portland protests. People have gathered each night in downtown Portland for the past 10 weeks to protest police brutality and systemic racism following the killing of George Floyd. Sgt. Brent Maxey, Sgt. Derrick Foxworth and Officer Rehanna Kerridge spoke about that, and Kerridge also talked about funding being cut for the Gun Violence Reduction Team (GVRT), of which she was a member. Kerridge said too many resources are redirected to the protests every night, including her position. In the early weeks of the protests, during widespread calls for defunding the police, Portland City Council announced that the GVRT would be disbanded. Kerridge said that news was devastating for her, and that it was a step in the wrong direction. She said sentiments against the GVRT, including that it was racist, were just not true. “It was a sacrifice to work in that unit,” she said. Upon learning funding was cut: “insulting was the first word that comes to mind. I had to find out about that by watching a press conference.” She said she had spent years in North Precinct as part of that team, building relationships with neighbors, businesses, victims and colleagues. Now she’s been reassigned to Central Precinct, “where people are actively trying to destroy and create division” night after night. Foxworth joined the police bureau in 2003, a month before his father was named police chief. “It’s interesting be an African American officer, and I think it’s a shared experience,” Foxworth said. “When you step outside or your agency, when you wear the uniform in public, especially if you’re interacting with communities of color, it doesn’t always go well. There’s a common experience that you’re no longer Black, you’re blue.” Foxworth said he hasn’t experienced any racism within the Portland Police Bureau. “The men and women of the Portland Police Bureau are some of the most accepting and kind people that I’ve ever interacted with,” he said. He said the bureau should always be focused on how to become more diverse and inclusive, but he agrees with Kerridge that disbanding the GVRT was a step in the wrong direction. He said the escalating violence outside of downtown Portland cannot be addressed if officers are focused on nightly riots, and stopping gun violence requires the kind of community relationship the GVRT had.
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