Open Letter to Incoming Chief Krantz From the Peacekeepers
Dear Mr. Krantz,
In the virtual meeting hosted by Embrace Bend today (July 21, 2020) you were asked by the Peacekeepers to commit to not using gas on the people of Bend. You refused to do so, and in your answer claimed that you had only ever ordered the use of chemical weapons one time during your time at the Portland Police Bureau. Frankly sir, this answer defies credulity, and we are writing to give you an opportunity to set the record straight.
Your own Linkedin page describes you as having served as the “Senior Public Order / Crowd Management Incident Commander for the Portland Police Bureau” for two years (July 2018 - July 2020). You describe having had responsibility for 200 crowd control events a year. The simplest of Google searches will return dozens of examples of gas being used by PPB during that time, and yet you told the people you intend to serve that you had “only” used gas one time.
To be sure, one time is certainly too many. Particularly once you gave your reasoning for WHY you ordered the use of gas. Just hours after PPB officers had knelt in “solidarity” with protesters (May 31st 2020), you ordered those protesters to be gassed because some in the crowd threw water bottles and batteries. Sir, we have combat veterans serving on the Peacekeepers team. The rules of engagement in IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN did not allow the use of force against unarmed civilians throwing rocks or water bottles, and you told the people of Bend that you felt justified in doing so against American citizens. Your officers were in body armor. You and we both know perfectly well those officers were in no danger from water bottles.
You failed a very simple test today, Mr. Krantz. Every single protest or demonstration event in Bend since the death of George Floyd (and indeed long before) has been entirely peaceful. You could have answered this simple question by saying that, of course, you would not be using tear gas on the people of this city. But you couldn’t do that. You insist on reserving the option to use chemical weapons on us. The Peacekeepers must now wonder if you will gas a crowd where our unarmed volunteers are working, simply because someone in that crowd throws a water bottle and you panic.
These answers and this attitude are entirely unacceptable. We call on you to correct the record, give a FULL accounting of every time you were involved in gas incidents during your two years as Senior Public Order / Crowd Management Incident Commander, and to issue a full throated and unequivocal commitment to not use gas on crowds in Bend.Better yet, we call on you to sit down with our team (as many other city and regional officials have done) to have these and other hard conversations.
- The Central Oregon Peacekeepers