By Steve Pomper
If you are on the political left and you still believe the political right unfairly characterizes Antifa and BLM demonstrator’s predilection for violence and mayhem, you may want to reorganize your views about these radicals after this story. If you don’t, replace the batteries in your humanity.
But first, let me preface with a couple of other similar incidents. During one of my riot control assignments to downtown Seattle during the 1999 WTO riots, I saw a demonstrator had climbed a city sign or light pole. He lost his grip, fell to the pavement, and suffered significant injuries.
A Seattle Fire Department medic rig (ambulance) responded to the scene. But the anarchists and their useful idiot allies would not allow the medics through the crowd to aid the injured person. Some demonstrators said they thought it was a ruse to get cops into the crowd. I never heard about what happened to that injured man.
Fast forward a couple of decades to the CHOP/CHAZ debacle to the night two men were shot in a city park. The crowd of Antifa/BLM militants would not allow police to secure the scene, investigate the crime, or allow fire department medics access to treat the victims. Instead, Antifa/BLM “medics” transported the victims to the hospital. One of the young men died.
So, this next recent example did not result in serious injury or death, though it could have, I think this incident is worse for the sober lack of humanity from the perpetrators. While the other incidents were abhorrent, they occurred within preexisting chaos. Not an excuse by any means, just an explanation and observation. But what happened in one American city recently was deliberate, indefensible, and inhumane.
Reportedly, on January 15th, at about 1 p.m., police received a man with a knife call. According to the call, a man had jumped from a two-story window, drew a knife, and was brandishing it at bystanders and people driving by.
When officers arrived, the 30-year-old man reacted by holding the knife to his throat. He threatened if they didn’t stay back, he’d kill himself. Officers were not about to rush a man holding a knife, nor were they going to shoot a man whom, for the moment, was putting only himself in danger. The man had also said he would hurt others but made no moves to do so.
Officers negotiated (deescalated) with the man for about an hour and a half. By then, Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT) officers had also learned that the man suffered from schizophrenia and extreme paranoia. So, the officers’ efforts to calm the man were leading toward a likely peaceful resolution to a dangerous incident.
But wait… did I forget to mention this incident occurred in Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Portland, Oregon? Yeah, that makes a difference, right? If you’re standing in downtown Portland and there isn’t an unruly crowd in sight, threatening violence, just give it a minute. The Portland Police Bureau reported,
Two separate crowds of protesters began showing up to the north and south. Some in the crowd began chanting, and one even started using a bullhorn. The extra noise and distraction made it impossible for the specially trained officers to speak to the man. Officers implored the crowd to stop interfering, but their energy only increased. Even when the suicidal man’s mother arrived and begged the crowd to stop, most in the crowd continued. Some in the crowd began threatening the officers. A supervisor requested resources citywide, and all available officers responded from North and East Precincts. This caused a major resource drain citywide and all but the highest priority calls had to wait. The officers had to don helmets and face shields to protect themselves as they stood in front of the hostile crowd.
First, I wish the PPB hadn’t characterized these radicals as “protesters.” These militants intentionally formed for the specific reason of preventing cops from helping a man who wanted to kill himself—that is a crime. Besides, what exactly were they “protesting?” The police coming to the aid of a suicidal man. Interfering with such a call put that man, bystanders, and the police officers at risk of injury or death. For cops, distractions can be lethal.
PPB officers made a clever decision to request a K9 unit to the scene. They used the dog’s barking to distract the suicidal man, so officers could get close enough to tase him. The taser application prevented him from injuring himself or anyone and ended the confrontation. The police took the man into protective custody and had him transported to a hospital where he could receive a mental health evaluation and care.
No matter your political views, certain actions arise to the level of barbarism. The lack of humanity displayed by these “protesters,” was repulsive. That poor man was experiencing an obvious crisis and needed help from his fellow human beings. He didn’t need political radicals taunting the people trying to save his life. Seems the only humanity shown to that man came from his fellow human beings wearing Portland Police Bureau uniforms and badges.