‘You can drive out Nature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back.’ – Horace
No matter the deprivations white liberals (once dubbed Disingenuous White Liberals) are willing to expose themselves to when it comes to engaging in mental gymnastics to excuse away the reality of black criminality, equalitarian contortionists will always fail.
Portland mayor proposed bringing back controversial Gun Violence Reduction Team: ‘Sell it to the new council ASAP,’ Oregon Live, January 13, 2021
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told his top staff last month he was interested in reinstating “part or all” of the city’s disbanded Gun Violence Reduction Team and instructed them to find a way to convince the incoming City Council to support the controversial proposal.
“The dissolution of GVRT came at the request of the community, but I cannot escape the reality that the victims of gun violence in our community are overwhelmingly people of color,” Wheeler wrote in a Dec. 17 text message obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive through a public records request.
“Let’s put together a plan and sell it to the new council ASAP.”
After floating the idea to his closest advisers that evening, however, the mayor apparently changed course. By the next day, Wheeler’s move to promptly bring back the Gun Violence Reduction Team appeared to be off the table in a meeting he held with Portland police.
Jim Middaugh, a spokesman for Wheeler, said Tuesday that the mayor continues to consider all options as he seeks to reduce the number of shootings in Portland.
“He is deeply concerned about gun violence and wants to challenge the entire city organization to come up with solutions,” Middaugh said.
Wheeler’s text message came near the end of a year marked by a surge in homicides and shootings citywide and only days after his office helped end an armed occupation outside the so-called “Red House on Mississippi,” which a longtime Black and Indigenous family had lost to foreclosure in 2018.
The city scrapped the Gun Violence Reduction Team last June at the urging of Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, then the council’s lone Black member, as one of several police reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis officers.
Floyd’s death ignited weeks of demonstrations and social unrest in Portland and around the country.
The specialized unit — which targeted crime hot spots and responded to shootings — had long faced criticism for disproportionately stopping Black people. African Americans, who made up about 8% of the city’s population, were subjected to 56% of all traffic and pedestrian stops by the unit, formerly known as the Gang Enforcement Team, in 2017 and 61% of all the team’s stops in 2016, according to a 2019 city audit.
Police, prosecutors and some politicians maintain, however, that the unit was essential in reducing the city’s gun violence, which disproportionately impacts communities of color.
“We are currently facing multiple crises, simultaneously. It is obvious to me and to everyone else that gun violence is getting dramatically worse,” Wheeler wrote in the late-night text to staff. “We need a new plan, and that can include reinstating part of or all of GVRT. I just need to know what will work in order to make headway against this situation.”
“I realize we’re dealing with protests, the red house, and other issues simultaneously, but this is the issue that is killing dozens of people in our community,” the mayor continued. “I would like us to meet tomorrow to brainstorm ideas.”
The mayor called a meeting with police leaders the next afternoon, Dec. 18, and later announced he would be assigning more detectives and officers to help investigate shootings.
But Wheeler wouldn’t heed some police calls to put the Gun Violence Reduction Team back on the street, those familiar with the meeting said at the time.
Chief Chuck Lovell said Tuesday that his bureau was doing all it could to reduce gun violence in the city, and welcomed any additional support from elected leaders.
“Black men and women suffer disproportionally from shootings in this city. We are in favor of dedicating as many resources as we are able to do the work necessary to stop the shooting,” Lovell said. “It’s important that we do our work in a way that is equitable and builds community trust.”
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.
You would think this is somehow the fault of white people, but when such a small percentage of Portland is black, yet black individuals collectively are responsible for such disproportionate rates of gun violence in the city, the Portland Gun Violence Reduction Team is in serious need of a comeback.
Yet it was wiped away during the early stages of the George Floyd-inspired revolution across America in June of 2020, and only took six months for elected leadership to immediately realize was necessary to protect black lives.
Horace is indeed correct.