Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore

Analyzing Salem PD’s ‘Review Of Protest Events’

Earlier today the City of Salem released Salem Police Department’s ‘Review of Protest Events.’ The document is in memo format and was originally sent from Chief Jerry Moore to Salem City Manager Steve Powers on June 24, 2020 according to the date on the document.

Before we dive into the contents of the Salem PD-generated document, it is worth noting that the Marion County District Attorney dismissed all charges against 14 Black Lives Matter protestors that were arrested and charged during the period of May 31 – June 1. Below are excerpts about it per the Statesman Journal:

Officials with the Marion County District Attorney’s Office said the cases were dismissed out of the need to serve the “interests of justice.”

Officials with the Marion County District Attorney’s Office said the cases were dismissed out of the need to serve the “interests of justice.”

“As each criminal case has its own unique set of facts, we review every case that is forwarded to our office by applying these standards,” Queen said. “After reviewing the full police reports it was determined that continued involvement by the criminal justice system would not serve the interests of justice, therefore, these cases have been dismissed.”

This is yet further proof that what Salem PD did to Black Lives Matter protestors during the specified timeframe was blatantly wrong. If the DA’s office did not even feel confident enough based on the ‘evidence’ that Salem PD submitted to prosecutors to go to trial, let alone win at trial, that speaks volumes.

With that in mind, let’s dive into some of the items listed in Chief Moore’s memo to City Manager Powers.

Chief Moore (page 1): “There were many lessons learned and even as we went from one operational period to the next, we were able to adjust some of our operations from the previous night(s).”

One thing that was clearly not adjusted was the selective enforcement of the curfew by Salem PD, as seen on multiple videos from multiple nights. As the videos clearly show, the curfew was enforced against Black Lives Matter protestors but did not apparently apply to heavily armed militia members, many of which are confirmed white supremacists. That is a clear violation of Article 1 Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment Section 1 of the United States Constitution.

Chief Moore (page 2): “The Salem Police Department took some of its harshest criticism for using crowd management techniques that involved CS gas and other munitions on “peaceful protestors.””

As previously stated, the Marion County DA chose to drop the charges against the peaceful protestors (not “peaceful protestors” which is an extremely condescending reference by Chief Moore in his memo). CS gas and ‘other munitions’ were not only used on those that ultimately had their charges dismissed by the DA, but they were also used against peaceful protestors that were never charged with any crime whatsoever. So yes, Chief Moore, you received harsh criticism, and rightfully so.

Chief Moore (page 2): “There is video of the events that led up to the use of munitions on the crowd. Those events show the crowd launching and throwing items at our officers. There are also people in the crowd who brought or ended up wearing gas masks, riot type gear, milk to aid in the washing of CS gas, and explosive devices along with sharp objects to damage vehicle tires or officers’ feet.”

Again, charges were dropped against those that were arrested because the DA did not feel that there was enough proof provided by Salem PD to pursue the charges.

Chief Moore (page 2): “We provided repeated verbal warnings for people to leave the area, yet people remained with the intent to engage in illegal activities, including attempts to assault police officers.”

In the March 31 video posted on this website, Salem PD told ALL people to leave the Liberty Street area, yet the only group that was subjected to CS gas and ‘other munitions’ was the Black Lives Matter protestors and not the group of heavily armed white supremacists. The armed white supremacists not only faced zero enforcement, but they were also coached to stick to the sidewalks (not go home or go inside of businesses or in vehicles). Chief Moore’s comments fail, once again, to acknowledge peaceful protestors that were exercising their First Amendment rights.

Chief Moore (page 2): “While the protests alone were challenging for the department to respond to, the militia group that came into the City created even more challenges. It is ironic that a group that has created multiple issues around the State and has made repeated disparaging comments toward law enforcement and elected officials would end up causing us to be on the defensive for how we tried to control the situation.”

On multiple videos on this website, Salem PD can clearly be seen treating the heavily armed militia group, many of which are confirmed white supremacists, with favoritism. In the June 1 video, Salem PD Sgt. Mike Johnson can CLEARLY be heard telling the group that Salem PD “appreciates” the group’s attitudes. It’s a sentiment that is reflected in multiple other videos. This claim by Chief Moore is shameful, to say the least. In Chief Moore’s June 3 public statement, he referred to this same group as being “lawfully armed individuals” and made no reference to the group being “challenging” for the Department.

Chief Moore (page 2): “Some of the criticism we have received is a result of people not understanding Oregon or Salem Revised Code as it relates to open carry, more specifically what the Salem Police Department has the legal authority to enforce. Additionally, some of the words or actions many officers used, with the goal of deescalation, has created a belief the City was supporting the militia’s efforts. Oregon is an open carry state and there was no evidence that Salem Revised Codes were being violated. The City did have an ordinance in place regarding sidewalk behavior as it relates to the Emergency Declaration but for the most part there did not appear to be violations of law that created an objectively reasonable governmental interest in a law enforcement response.

Again, the group of heavily armed militia members, many of which are confirmed white supremacists, were told that the Salem PD “appreciates” their attitudes and Salem PD did not appear to enforce any laws on the group at all, and most city leaders had no problem with it. So yes, Chief Moore, there is a belief that the City “was supporting the militia’s efforts” and that belief by Salem city residents is well-founded.

Furthermore, while yes, Oregon is an open carry state, Salem Revised Code 95.095 requires people carrying a loaded firearm on public property within city limits to have a concealed carry permit. If people protecting shampoo with assault rifles, many of which were pointing their guns at people from the sniper position on the Liberty Square Parkade, did not warrant asking the group to prove that they are in compliance with Salem Revised Code 95.095, what does? Are we to believe that Chief Moore is perfectly fine with people walking around downtown Salem armed to the teeth without being asked if they have a permit to do so? It’s painfully obvious that the one that doesn’t understand Salem Revised Code is Chief Moore himself.

Chief Moore (page 2): “It is unfortunate there are not more videos circulating that show our officers shaking hands with all groups who were talking to us or offering us their hand. It is unfortunate there are not more videos circulating of us telling all people we met, who were not engaged in active hostilities toward us, to please get off the street, into a business or into their vehicles.”

Even if those videos did exist, which presumably would have surfaced by now, it doesn’t negate what is on the other videos – blatant violations of Article 1 Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment Section 1 of the United States Constitution.

Chief Moore (page 2): “Equally important, the Salem Police Department, as an organization, did not and does not side with the militia;”

Again, Salem PD Sgt. Mike Johnson literally told the group that the Department “appreciates” their attitudes in the June 1 video. Furthermore, in the May 31 video white supremacist Angela Roman literally name drops what appears to be Salem PD Lt. Jason VanMeter’s name (the Department’s Public Information Officer) while her group is receiving special treatment from Salem PD.

Chief Moore (page 3): “The widespread, controversial video of our officer interacting with the armed individuals was an example of what officers throughout the city were doing – making every effort to deescalate tense situations and convince everyone to abide by the laws so that no one would be arrested. Based on the fact that no one was arrested simply for curfew anywhere in the city, it appears that approach was successful.”

For starters, there wasn’t just one video. There were several, and Chief Moore continues to fail to acknowledge even the mere existence of the other videos, let alone what they contain – a pattern of blatant selective enforcement of the law. If there is video proof of protestors being told that their attitudes are “appreciated” by Salem PD, that the Department’s “command” would like to “request” a “favor” that the protestors go inside of their cars or in businesses, we would all love to see it.

What there is video proof of is that instead protestors were told to disperse via a loudspeaker, and then quickly had tear gas shot at them along with ‘other munitions.’ Again, which can’t be hammered home enough, those that were arrested had charges dropped today by the Marion County DA.

Also, while no one was arrested for curfew violations specifically, peaceful protestors still had the curfew enforced on them via being tear-gassed, ‘other munitions’ shot at them, and threatened with arrest. All facts that Chief Moore has repeatedly glossed over, which is insulting, to say the least.

Chief Moore (page 3): “The department did not make a bad situation worse with the armed militia who have repeatedly made threats to law enforcement and the government. We did, however, ensure they did not engage, or continue to engage, in open conflict with the other protestors and rioters, even when we had information that members of both groups were desirous of open conflict. Ultimately, we were able to persuade them to leave.”

The overwhelming video evidence contained on this website, which was circulated widely well before this website was even created, clearly proves these claims by Chief Moore to be false.

Chief Moore (page 3): “The department is a learning organization and we have learned a lot over the past few weeks. We have made changes to the issues we recognize and understand needed changed.

If Salem PD was truly a learning organization, Chief Moore and other leaders would have changed their tune when overwhelming video evidence began surfacing. Instead, they continue to cling to debunked talking points and act as if what everyone is seeing with their own eyes, and in many cases, what people lived through via personal experience, is not reality. It’s absolutely disgusting what Salem PD, including and especially Chief Moore, thinks that they can get away with. Equally disgusting is the lack of those in power holding the Department and Chief accountable. Shame on all of those involved.

The rest of Chief Moore’s memo to City Manager Powers is the Department’s recap of events, broken down by day. Feel free to compare the Department’s recap to the one posted on the Homepage of this website and form our own opinion regarding which one is more accurate. As you will see, only one version includes video proof to back up the claims.

It is EXTREMELY significant that the Marion County DA dismissed charges against the Black Lives Matter protestors that Salem PD wrongfully arrested. With that being said, Salem PD should still be held accountable via a third-party investigation. We have now seen what Salem PD’s internal investigation yielded via Chief Moore’s ridiculous memo to City Manager Powers. Chief Moore’s memo further highlights the need for an objective third-party investigation.

A petition was started on June 13, 2020 calling on Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to launch a third-party investigation in the City of Salem (linked below, over 1,600 signatures as of the publishing of this page). Please sign and share it:

https://www.change.org/p/oregon-attorney-general-ellen-rosenblum-demand-that-oregon-attorney-general-ellen-rosenblum-investigate-the-city-of-salem