For Portland cops, an "F" grade in Human Rights

Here's a damning report by a well-known international human rights group about police brutality at this summer's Portland protests. The group, Physicians for Human Rights, concludes that the police used excessive force, particularly against volunteer medics whose presence was entirely appropriate given the lack of any other medical services at the protest site.

This study’s findings provide evidence that PPB officers and federal agents engaged in a consistent pattern of disproportionate and excessive use of force against both protestors and medics over the course of June and July 2020. Medics further reported treating an increasing number of serious injuries among protestors from kinetic impact projectiles (KIPs) following the arrival of federal agents on July 1. Volunteer medics experienced and witnessed indiscriminate attacks by both PPB officers and federal agents. In some cases, medics reported that these attacks appeared to be specifically targeting medics, including the use of tear gas and projectiles. A number of medics sustained serious injuries while providing medical assistance to protestors due to the use of force by PPB officers and federal agents.

PHR also documented that, except for rare reported instances, paramedics affiliated with the PPB and Fire Department did not provide medical care to injured protestors. Furthermore, because the PPB deemed the area unsafe, official ambulances were prevented for much of July from arriving within a perimeter of several blocks outside the downtown protest site to assist and transport injured demonstrators to emergency rooms. This left a gap that civil society had to fill....

[T]here were many incidents where potentially unlawful use of “less-lethal” weapons occurred in Portland, including: use of batons on people not engaged in violent behavior; use of chemical irritants without sufficient toxicological information made available for treatment by medical responders; irritant-containing projectiles fired at individuals, including at the head and face; and kinetic projectiles fired at the head and face....

The UN Guidance states that when the government is deploying crowd-control weapons in a protest setting, the government is obligated to ensure that protestors have timely access to emergency medical services, including by actively protecting medical personnel, whether they are acting officially or as volunteers.... According to the cases documented by PHR, the government did not actively protect volunteer medics, even those who were clearly marked and offering particular aid to people who had been incapacitated by serious injuries. 

The whole thing is here.