Portland's police union chief blasted city officials over the weekend, arguing they "encouraged and enabled some of the violence" that occurred in the city for more than 150 nights last year, and explaining that the recent resignation of the police unit's riot squad was about far more than just one of their fellow officers being indicted.
When asked point-blank during an interview on Fox News on Sunday, "Do you think that city officials in Portland have your backs?" Portland Police Association executive director Daryl Turner responded, "No, they do not."
Turner told Fox News that when the entire 50-member Rapid Response Team decided to resign from their voluntary posts last week, it was "not just about our officer being indicted." That was just the straw that broke the camel's back.
All 50 members of the Portland police riot squad resign www.youtube.com
He stressed that the police union had sent a letter to the city in October relaying the many issues and concerns they had in regards to the handling of what Turner called "unprecedented sustained violence in the city of Portland." But the city never addressed those concerns.
Meanwhile, "our rapid response team along with others from the police bureau came out every night [and] stood the line with ... Molotov cocktails, urine, feces, rocks, bottles, everything else thrown at them," Turner recalled.
"We had multiple assaults during the riots and also multiple assaults of police officers during the same riots," he said before noting that, in response, Portland District Attorney Mike Schmidt "declined 80% of the crimes committed during those riots."
Turner then told Fox News that instead of working with police to help quell the riots, elected leaders "actually encouraged and enabled some of the violence that was going on during those 150-plus nights."
"The residents and the business owners of the city of Portland have a hopeless feeling right now with what's gone on," he said, adding that the Portland Police Bureau is "woefully understaffed" and has been "defunded."
During another interview with NBC Nightly News following the riot squad's resignations, Turner explained that Portland police morale "is as bad as it's ever been."
"We're dealing with rioting at a level, and a sustained violence, that we've never seen before. We're looking at violence in our city, gun violence in our city, like we've never seen before. We're looking at the most catastrophic staffing levels we've ever seen before. We're looking at budget cuts to defund us like we've never seen before," Turner said.
"All those things play into the morale of a police officer. Coming to work every day, trying to do your job, trying to do it right with all these roadblocks in the way," he added.