PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge said Wednesday he’s contemplating ordering Portland police armed with less-lethal launchers to wear body cameras, receive training every six months and explain why they pulled the trigger every time in reports made public.
U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez said he also wants the city to find ways to rotate Rapid Response Team officers for protests so the Police Bureau doesn’t have an operator of a less-lethal weapon on the street “night after night after night,” The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
These ideas, the judge said, are among remedies he’s considering as potential court sanctions after finding the Portland police in contempt of his June 26 order that restricted the use of less-lethal munitions during protests in the city.
The judge last summer had banned police from firing FN303s and 40mm less-lethal launchers and using pepper spray on people engaged in passive resistance.
The judge will give city attorneys and lawyers for the nonprofit Don’t Shoot Portland, which sued the city challenging the police use of force during demonstrations last year, until Jan. 29 to respond and hold another hearing in February before he issues a final ruling.
Hernandez previously ruled that police violated his order June 30 as officers declared an unlawful assembly and tried to push protesters away from the police union office in North Portland. The judge specifically identified three instances where police fired the FN303 less-lethal launcher at people who weren’t actively aggressive.