By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
It’s only Michael Krantz’s fourth day on the job and already Bend’s newest police chief has come face to face with protestors…some who have challenged his record confronting protests in Portland.
But Krantz says Bend PD’s presence at Wednesday’s protest was for safety reasons and they had no intention of assisting federal authorities.
“I asked a community member if I could use the bullhorn so I could address the crowd and address the community directly and tell them thank you for coming out and being peaceful,” Krantz said.
That peace lasted, Krantz said, throughout the evening, which is part of the reason no arrests were made.
“A peaceful crowd who was expressing their first amendment rights and doing it the way we expected to do it in Bend, is not really the place for an arrest,” Krantz said.
Despite claims local law enforcement was there ensure people remained safe, when federal agents arrived later in the evening, Bend Police left the immediate area.
That’s when protestors say they were shoved and pepper-sprayed by federal authorities.
“We pulled away for two reasons,” said Krantz. “We just went around the corner to give the federal agents room and to not be interfered with and not anyone else and to ensure that there was no confusion that we were a part of any actions they were taking. And there is also concern that if we step in and interfere that we would then be potentially liable for violating federal law for interfering with a federal investigation.”
Krantz added that he’s proud of the community as a whole for supporting each other and remaining non-violent.
“That’s really the message is that this was an example of how to provide the Bend community of what these events can look like,” Krantz said.