Portland Police Chief Steps Down After George Floyd Unrest

June 8, 2020 Updated: June 9, 2020

The police chief of Portland, Oregon, stepped down following days of unrest triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Chief Jami Resch, the top law enforcement officer in the city for about six months, told reporters that Charlie Lovell, an African-American lieutenant, will serve as the next chief of police.

“What [the Portland Police Bureau] has not done, publicly, is not stand up and say we will be the start of that change. This change starts with trust. I have asked Chuck Lovell as the chief of the [Portland Police Bureau],” Resch said.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said that he’s “one hundred percent confident that [Lovell] is the right person for the job. But we must remember that the issues we have are not the chief’s alone to fix,” adding that police reforms will be implemented on Tuesday.

Lovell, who became an officer in 2002, becomes the fourth African-American to head Portland’s police force.

Epoch Times Photo
New Police Chief Chuck Lovell listens during a news conference announcing his appointment on June 8, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)

In the news conference, Lovell said he was disturbed by the death of Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, saying he was struck by the lack of compassion and care by the involved officers.

“That’s what stuck with me – the thought that that’s an idea that could exist. The fight is not with each other. The fight is against that idea – that people, institutions, the agencies that can harbor that feeling in their heart. That’s the true enemy. That’s what we should all be fighting against,” he said, according to Oregon Live. “We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We’ll get busy doing that.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon alleged that Portland police’s response to recent unrest has been overzealous.

“We join the protesters in calling for a new approach in our community, and demanding that we uphold the rights of people who have historically had their rights and humanity denied,” the group said Sunday.

Officials said in a statement on Monday that full beverage containers, glass bottles, hard-boiled eggs, and rocks were fired or thrown at officers during protests. A medic was injured in the week unrest, according to police.

Floyd’s death has ignited calls to reform the Minneapolis Police Department before the majority of Minneapolis City Council members said Sunday that they favor disbanding the department entirely, though they have yet to offer a plan to replace it.

Meanwhile, there have been calls to “defund the police” across cities. President Donald Trump has made sure to highlight the slogans, tying it to top Democrats such as 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) while casting himself as the “law and order” candidate.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday introduced a bill that included various reforms to police departments. Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, said he opposes defunding or abolishing police, while Pelosi has said it’s up to local municipalities.