The Portland Police Bureau is conducting an internal investigation into a training presentation for dealing with mass protests that included a meme describing violence against protesters that begins, “And the Lord said… Woe be unto you, dirty hippy.”
“I am disgusted that this offensive content was added to a training presentation for our police officers,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement released Friday.
The image, which appeared at the end of a 110-page PowerPoint presentation, shows a photo of a person in tactical gear attacking what appears to be an unarmed protester. The accompanying message, written as mock Bible verses, states that, “They may christen your heads with hickory, and anoint your faces with pepper spray.” It goes on to refer to people being “cuffed and stuffed,” as well as “stitched and bandaged.”
“The message on the training presentation slide was contrary to PPB’s values and what we are trying to achieve as an organization,” Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement. “Upon learning of its existence, I ordered an Internal Affairs investigation. That investigation is still open and therefore, details cannot be discussed.”
Although the full training document emphasizes that protesters can come from any part of the political spectrum, the image refers exclusively to stereotypes associated with left-wing activists, with mentions of patchouli, Marx, and dreadlocks.
Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner, said the investigation has been underway since September when the image was noticed by a city worker during a legal review and is being made public now because the city expects it to be included in court filings.
The mayor’s office said it does not know when the PowerPoint presentation was created, or if it was ever actually used in training.