Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.
Portland, Oregon’s mayor announced just before the weekend that the city’s police department is investigating itself over a training presentation featuring a meme encouraging cops to use violence against left-wing protesters.
The meme shows an officer in riot gear beating a protester described as a “dirty hippy.” The message, addressed to demonstrators in the form of mock Bible verses, suggests officers would “christen your heads with hickory, And anoint your faces with pepper spray.”
“And once thou hast been cuffed and stuffed; Once though hast been stitched and bandaged,” it continued, “Perhaps thou shall learn, I’m tired of your shit. Amen.”
A Portland PD training slide instructing personnel on the proper cultural mindset when policing protests. https://t.co/jNkrrhicMz pic.twitter.com/1HRV8uILHD
— Pete Kraska (@Peterkraska) January 15, 2022
The department said it began looking into the training presentation in September after the image was discovered during a legal review. But it wasn’t until late on Friday that Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office alerted the public and published the presentation, noting that it would soon be released in the course of a lawsuit over the city’s response to racial justice protests in the summer of 2020.
The mayor condemned the meme. “I am disgusted that this offensive content was added to a training presentation for our police officers,” Wheeler said in a statement on Friday. Chief Chuck Lovell insisted the violent message was “not representative of the Portland Police Bureau, and it is disappointing to all of us who work so hard to earn the community’s trust.”
Portland police have a lengthy history of violent confrontations.
The presentation appeared to have been created in 2018 as part of an effort to train officers who would work protests in the famously liberal city. Wheeler’s office said it was unclear who had included the meme,…