Navy Veteran Speaks Out After Being Beaten by Federal Officers at Portland Protest

Police during a demonstration in Portland Oregon
Law enforcement officers are seen during a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland, Oregon on July 4. Getty Images

A Navy veteran who says he was beaten by federal officers during protests in Portland, Oregon is speaking out. 

Christopher David, 53, is a disabled veteran who served in the Navy for more than eight years, The Independent reported. After seeing images of law enforcement officers violently cracking down on Black Lives Matter protesters in his city, David told the paper he decided to wear his Navy sweatshirt and travel to a protest Saturday to ask the officers why. 

"I was enraged simply because I did not think they were taking their oath of office seriously or they were compromising their oath of office," David told The Independent. "So I actually went down because I wanted to talk to them about it."

Video shot by Zane Sparling, a reporter with the Portland Tribune, shows what happened next. David stands still as he is beaten with a baton and pepper sprayed in the face. He then walks away. 

"I was hoping they wouldn't shoot me, because one had a weapon pointing it right at my chest," David told CNN of the incident. 

"The baton hits weren't the issue but when they used pepper spray it was over; it felt like they dumped a gallon of burning gasoline on my head," he added. 

David told CNN two bones in his hand were broken in the encounter and plans to have surgery later this week. 

Portland has seen more than 50 days of protests, with law enforcement sometimes responding violently and reports of some protesters being taken into custody by officers in unmarked cars without being told why, according to published reports.

It is not clear to which agency the officers who allegedly beat David belonged, but CNN reported that the Portland Police Bureau and Customs and Border Protection both said their officers were not involved in the incident. 

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