Portland, Oregon Police Chief Danielle Outlaw has called for city officials to ban the wearing of masks while protesting following the assault of journalist Andy Ngo by masked protesters last month.
Outlaw has publicly called for the ban, saying that protesters wearing masks can be “emboldened” by their anonymity, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday:
City leaders in Portland, Ore., are considering making it illegal for protesters to wear masks in an attempt to address violent clashes between left-wing and right-wing activists, the latest of which occurred a few weeks ago.
“A lot of people are emboldened because they know they can’t be identified,” Ms. Outlaw said at a news conference.
Mayor Ted Wheeler has not yet voiced an opinion on the proposed ban. Eileen Park, a spokesperson for Wheeler said that the mayor “wants to weigh his options thoroughly and hear concerns from community leaders before making a decision.”
The ACLU of Oregon has come out in opposition to the ban on the grounds it “risks chilling First Amendment-protected activities, particularly for those who wear ‘masks’ for political and religious reasons,” spokeswoman Sarah Armstrong wrote in an email.
By donning masks, “We are able to move more freely and do what we need to do, whether it is illegal or not," former Antifa activist Scott Crow told CNN in an interview.