Speed Reads

PowerPoint Faux Pas

Portland police presentation mocked 'dirty hippy' protesters and encouraged violence

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) said Friday that the Portland Police Bureau has launched an internal investigation into a training slideshow that included comical descriptions of violence against "dirty hippy" protesters, The New York Times reports. "The Portland Police Bureau must reject the harmful and divisive attitude expressed in that slide," Wheeler said.

Police Chief Chuck Lovell released a statement announcing he had ordered the internal investigation and that the "message on the training presentation slide was contrary to PPB's values and what we are trying to achieve as an organization," CNN reported.

The 100-page PowerPoint presentation from 2018 provided straightforward guidance on how to handle mass protests and riots, but the final slide reflected a shift in tone. It featured an image of an officer in riot gear striking a seemingly unarmed protester.

"They may christen your heads with hickory, and anoint your faces with pepper spray," the mock-biblical text accompanying the image read, along with a reference to protesters being "stitched and bandaged."

Portland has suffered frequent riots in recent years. Protesters broke the windows of city buildings and hurled objects at police officers after the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was announced in November. A year earlier, demonstrations turned violent as the country awaited the final results of the 2020 presidential election. A few months before that, riots broke out in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, prompting intervention by federal law enforcement.

Portland's City Council responded to the George Floyd protesters' demand to "Defund the Police" by cutting $15 million from the PPB, PBS reported. Last year, after an increase in the city's homicide rate, the council added more than $5 million back into the policing.