Can you say nothing? That’s what police in Portland, Ore., did when a group of pro-life Christians were assaulted for conducting a peaceful and perfectly legal (as in protected by the First Amendment) protest outside a Planned Parenthood facility Wednesday.
Soon after the group from Beaverton Grace Bible Church assembled to protest abortion and to plead for the lives of the unborn they found themselves surrounded by more than 20 people, one of whom approached them with a green canister in his hand. He began yelling and shaking the canister, ultimately spewing the white powder it contained — kitchen cleanser — over the hapless crowd.
When Portland Police Officer Gene Gillock arrived on the scene, he swung into action … or make that inaction. He pulled his police cruiser up alongside the assailant and ordered him to leave the area. Protesters demanded that the man be arrested for assault, but the demand fell on deaf ears.
The police did return to question those who had been assaulted, but they did not speak to the witnesses and they never arrested the attacker. When members of the group tried to question the officers, they simply ignored them and left.
It would be remiss to judge the entire Portland Police Department on the conduct of one officer. But this is not the first time Officer Gillock has been in the news. A story that ran in the Portland Tribune about an 11-year-old who was out of control at a local elementary school, lashing out at teahers with a metal compass. Ultimately, the child was Tased by Officer John Hunt, which generated a firestorm of controversy. But according to Portland Cop Watch, “the first officer on the scene … backed away when the boy threatened to stab him.” That officer’s name? Gene Gillock.