By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
As protests in Portland continue to make national headlines, rallies in support of those protests have been scheduled to take place in Bend over the weekend.
Some in the Central Oregon community have expressed concern over the City of Bend’s decision to hire Michael Krantz as Bend’s next chief of police, citing that he comes from the Portland Police Bureau, a department that has used tear gas on protesters.
“He was one of the people that was heading the crowd control division in Portland,” Luke Richter, president of the Central Oregon Peacekeepers, said. “I understand that there are some agitators that are causing problems, but they were gassing entire groups.”
Richter has been to many protests and rallies in the last few weeks.
“We’re just an organization that’s just built to protect people that are exercising their first amendment right of protesting,” Richter said.
Richter has organized another rally for Saturday evening. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel agreed to attend, partly to stand in solidarity with Portland’s protestors and partly over concerns about the hiring of the incoming police chief.
“It’s sending a message to the tens of thousands of people in our community who have taken to the streets, who say ‘we want change’ and the response to them is ‘we’re going to hire an ex-police chief from the police agency in this country that’s been gassing people’,” Hummel said.
But Bend City Manager Eric King says it’s unfair to judge Krantz on his police agency alone.
“I think Mike represents more than just Portland. He is an individual and I see as a change agent,” said King. “He’s been somebody that has really pushed for meaningful change in the Portland, so I think it’s not fair to judge Mike just from where he’s coming given some of the things I think people see.”
Krantz told Central Oregon Daily News that he felt attacked by groups like the Peacekeepers and was “ambushed” at a meeting that took place this week.
“It’s not an attack,” Richter said. “It’s just genuine concern from the people he’s serving. We pay his paycheck at the end of the day.”
There will be two rallies taking place in Bend Saturday. The first will be on Peace Corner from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The other will take place at the Deschutes County Courthouse at 7:30 p.m.