Here’s why it’s ridiculous that Mayor Ted Wheeler didn’t learn until his police chief said it at a press conference that his Portland Police Bureau would be coordinating with Oregon State Police during the purported transition away from the paramilitary shock troops of Mine Furor’s Interior Ministry Department of Homeland Security.

If we’re going to have a militarized police force — and it’s going to take time to demilitarize in addition to defunding them — than the clear chain-of-command needs to stop and start with the elected civilian political official in charge of the Police Bureau. In this case, that means Wheeler.

His “apology” for the use of tear gas is an empty one given that his approach to the police is to defer to their decisions (per today’s news conference) or to “ask” them to do things rather than order them to do things (per his at-the-protest “listening session”).

The problem is that Wheeler is not required by law to have any political skin in the “game” of being the police commissioner.

Under the city’s 0635.10 Crowd Management/Crowd Control directive (currently under review, according to that page), it’s the responsibility of the Crowd Management Incident Commander to “[a]uthorize the deployment of riot control agents and/or special impact munitions, when objectively reasonable, to address civil disturbance and crowd dispersal”.

This should change.

Wheeler, as police commissioner, should be required either by city code or by policy directive to be present at the Justice Center or other appropriate command center whenever there’s a protest. I’ve literally no idea if he ever is; for all I know during these nightly protests he is asleep and finding out the next day what his police happened to do.

Further, it should be the express purview of the police commissioner — the elected political official responsible for the Police Bureau — to authorize the use of “riot control agents and/or special impact munitions”, barring the outright prohibition of such weapons.

(Wheeler’s statement of early June doesn’t count, as it continues to allow the Bureau’s incident commander the wide leeway to determine what is “violence that threatens life safety”.)

Not the chief, or the incident commander, or any other agent employed by our militarized police force. Only and solely the police commissioner.

For the Mayor’s apology to mean anything for the future of the use of riot control weapons, he needs to take actual, not merely rhetorical, responsibility for their use.

Given his habitual deference to the Police Bureau, however, I think it’s fairly clear that the only reason Wheeler maintains an in-name-only control of the Bureau is to protect them from any day-to-day oversight.

Well, this is disturbing: the out of control policing-by-gas downtown appears to be causing menstrual irregularities, including “[t]rans protesters who had stopped menstruating since taking testosterone [seeing] their cycles restart”, according to interviews with “36 protesters, ranging in age from 17 to 43” conducted by OPB.

Lois Beckett for The Guardian on what the data says about the antifa threat (via Lesley McLam).

A new database of nearly 900 politically motivated attacks and plots in the United States since 1994 includes just one attack staged by an anti-fascist that led to fatalities. In that case, the single person killed was the perpetrator.

Over the same time period, American white supremacists and other rightwing extremists have carried out attacks that left at least 329 victims dead, according to the database.

Emphasis added.

Where is Ted Wheeler? As near as I can tell, no one’s heard from the Mayor since a Saturday morning tweet (I’ve tried looking for news stories that might have gotten a more recent quote but to no avail; ping me if I missed something), and it’s difficult to view this silence as anything other than an inability for him to hop onto national newscasts to posture about Donald Trump and the abuses of his paramilitary shock troops from the Department of Homeland Security given that last night the Portland Police that he commands as Police Commissioner were full partners and participants in those very abuses. Wheeler and the rest of the City Council literally just this past week adopted a resolution prohibiting that, so I’d really love it if the local press corps could get an answer here: is the Mayor just trying to snow us all with his preening on television, while actually supporting his police’s behavior, or has he simply lost any and all control over them?

In addition to reportedly rendering the first seven floors of the Federal courthouse uninhabitable due to their own tear gas, paramilitary shock troops from Mine Furor’s ad-hoc wannabe Interior Ministry also are gassing inmates in jail at the Justice Center next door.

The sheriff’s department couldn’t say how many inmates or employees were affected. But tear gas infiltrated the sixth, seventh and eighth floors of the detention center and affected more than 60 inmates, according to defense lawyers who serve as public defenders to those incarcerated. The center’s eighth floor, which houses women, was the hardest hit, according to Maxfield.

On the morning of July 21, Maxfield said female inmates woke around 1 am to the sounds of another inmate screaming, “I can’t breathe!” As the gas continued seeping into cells, inmates began to panic because no jail staff are present at night. “So there was no one to help them get to a safe place,” Maxfield said. “It was pretty terrifying.”

It takes some nerve for an ally of the Portland police union in essence and effect to steal the words that activists and our more enlightened politicians have been saying to the police.

If you want to make change, if you are serious about change, then I’m begging you as a citizen of this city […] put down your need for violence.

David H. Gans for The Atlantic teaches me the specifics of what informed the creation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the degree to which it directly intended to interrupt police violence against Black people — history oh-so-conveniently ignored by the “originalists” on the Supreme Court.

Mine Furor sent federal police to put down the protests in Portland, and one of them promptly shot a protester in the head with “less lethal” munitions, causing skull fractures. They apparently were responsive after surgery as of this morning. Trump’s mistaken if he thinks this is going to put down local protests; it’s only going to reinforce them.

If the abolition of policing has been giving you trouble, try this Derecka Purnell piece for The Atlantic in which she explains going from growing up in a Black neighborhood that “called 911 for almost everything except snitching” to thinking of abolition as “white and utopic” to becoming an avowed abolitionist.

Police couldn’t do what we really needed. They could not heal relationships or provide jobs. We were afraid every time we called. When the cops arrived, I was silenced, threatened with detention, or removed from my home. Fifteen years later, my old neighborhood still lacks quality food, employment, schools, health care, and air—all of which increases the risk of violence and the reliance on police. Yet I feared letting go; I thought we needed them.

Until the Ferguson, Missouri, cop Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown. Brown had a funeral. Wilson had a wedding. Most police officers just continue to live their lives after filling the streets with blood and bone.

Jonathan Levinson writing for OPB has a good look at the Portland Police Bureau terrorizing protests with so-called “less lethal” munitions; Levinson gets some pretty blunt descriptions of what these weapons do to people. Some of the munitions used here in Portland were used in Boston until they decided they were too dangerous; they melted them down into sewer caps.