Protester says she was left with bruises, third degree burns after Saturday's protest
A protester is recovering from third-degree burns and will likely have permanent scars from a device she said was used by Portland Police to control counter-demonstrators on Saturday.
Michelle Fawcett said she was standing with counter-protesters on SW Columbia Boulevard a half-block away from SW Naito Parkway when police started using flash bangs and pepper spray to disperse the crowd.
"Within a few minutes there was a massive explosion, and a split second later I was struck in the chest and then on my arm. I just felt incredible, searing, burning pain from both points of impact," Fawcett told KATU News.
Portland Police have been criticized for their use of force to break up a large group of counter-protesters who were demonstrating against a Patriot Prayer rally.
"Our city says it protects the rights for free speech, but apparently it's only protecting the right of free speech for certain groups," she said.
On Monday, Police Chief Danielle Outlaw defended law enforcement's tactics. She told reporters the bureau remains neutral at demonstrations and counter-demonstrations.
After Fawcett was injured, she said volunteer medics rushed to help with her wound. She said she later went to urgent care to see a doctor.
"Even my doctor had no reference point. She knew it was some serious weaponry. She knew I had third-degree chemical burns and high impact soft tissue damage throughout my arm. It will be permanently scarred," she said.
Police said it was investigating allegations of injuries and learned about them through social media.
Monday the bureau temporarily suspended the use of aerial distraction devices.
Chief Outlaw says they’re still investigating officers’ use of “less lethal” force and encourages the public to come forward with any information, photos or videos about reported violence.
For information on how to file a complaint about officer misconduct, click HERE or call 503-823-0146.