Portland Police Chief Says Violence Is “Drowning Out” Voices for Positive Change


The police chief of Portland, Oregon has heartily denounced violent instigators whom he says are responsible for the chaos and destruction that, ultimately, delegitimizes the message of Black Lives Matter protesters.

“Portlanders need to send a strong message that enough is enough,” Chief Chuck Lovell told reporters at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, according to KGW. “This is not forwarding the goals that are going to lead to better outcomes for people of color. This movement is really powerful, but the violence has taken away from it. … This is not what Portland is about. This is not what we need in our city.”

The protests, which often devolve into late-night riots focused on the Multnomah County Justice Center and the federal courthouse, continued uninterrupted for over two months since the May 25 death in police custody of George Floyd.

Lovell noted that the city has seen many large peaceful protests that required no police presence, but denounced offshoot actions such as setting fires, breaking windows, and throwing objects at police.

“I’ve never seen a summer like this,” said Lovell.

Lovell also added that shootings have increased since the defunding of the Gun Violence Reduction Team over accusations of racism, with 99 shootings in July, up from 35 the same time last year.

“A lot of those stops end with handshakes and conversation,” he said, arguing that he does not believe the team was racist. “And there’s a real familiarity and people miss it. We hear from a lot of people in the community saying ‘hey, we need the Gun Violence Reduction Team back. We need these officers that know our community, that know this issue of gun violence that we really relied on to help stay safe.'”

Chief Lovell Media Event – July 30, 2020

Podcast – Chief Chuck Lovell provides updates on demonstrations as well as information on recent shootings occurring in the City of Portland.

Posted by Portland Police Bureau on Friday, July 31, 2020

On Monday, Lovell wrote a New York Times op-ed titled, “I’m the Police Chief in Portland. Violence Isn’t the Answer.”

“As a Black man and a public servant, I see that spectacle is drowning out the voices that need to be heard to make positive change,” he declared. “This violence is doing nothing to further the Black Lives Matter movement.”

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