PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A month of nightly protests in Portland, Oregon has cost the city at least $6.2 million, Police Chief Chuck Lovell said.
That sum does not include straight time pay due to officers who were reassigned to the demonstrations from other areas, Lovell said in a statement about the protests released Tuesday.
Lovell, who took over the Portland Police Bureau after former Chief Jamie Resch resigned earlier this month amid nightly protests and calls for reform, said the amount a “staggering sum" that was sure to increase.
Peaceful demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality continue to attract hundreds to Portland each night amid national outrage over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, a handcuffed Black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer held a knee to his neck for nearly eight minutes as Floyd cried out that he couldn't breathe.
Lovell said several thousand peaceful demonstrators had brought the city “an awesome statement of unity for transformational change.” But Lovell criticized a group of several hundred people who “have not engaged in lawful or constitutionally protected activities.” He said dozens of officers have been injured during these incidents and attempts to diffuse the group by pulling back have been unsuccessful.
“How many millions has our community lost financially as they have been trying to recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic? We cannot afford to not respond with public safety personnel during this critical time,” he said.
“To move forward, we must shift our focus and resources into productive collaboration and actions alongside the community. We cannot do this effectively if the nightly criminal acts and violence continue to pose instability and threat to our community and critical infrastructure.”