SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The police chief in Salem, Oregon, has apologized after video showed one of the city’s police officers speaking with armed men about curfews that critics say shows authorities treated the men with weapons differently than other protesters.
Like other cities, Oregon’s capital instituted evening curfews during protests over the killing of George Floyd. In the video a Salem police officer tells the armed group to get off the sidewalks before police start enforcing the curfew. He said they needed to leave the sidewalk but could be inside a business or inside their vehicles so “it doesn’t look like we are playing favorites.”
This week Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore said in a video address to citizens that this was the first time a curfew has been instituted in the city. As for the video, Moore said he understands that some people feel authorities were holding certain groups to different standards.
“For that I tell you I am sorry,” Moore said, adding that the officer had not been “fully briefed” in how to enforce curfews during the demonstrations. Moore said that in the future all police who enforce curfews will be fully briefed before going on patrol.
“We understand the feelings of fear that large groups of people openly carrying firearms in our city can create,” the chief said. “Though they gather under the guise of protecting the city, that is our responsibility, not theirs.”