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Oregon Governor Kate Brown And Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury Release Statements On Deadly Shooting In Downtown Portland

Portland, Ore. – Local elected officials reacted to the deadly shooting in Downtown Portland.

Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement today:

“For the last several years, and escalating in recent months, President Trump has encouraged division and stoked violence. It happened in Charlottesville. It happened in Kenosha. And now, unfortunately, it is happening in Portland, Oregon.

“But despite the President’s jeers and tweets, this is a matter of life and death. Whether it’s his completely incompetent response to the pandemic, where nearly 200,000 have died, or his outright encouragement of violence in our streets: it should be clear to everyone by now that no one is truly safe with Donald Trump as President.

“Throughout this pandemic, whether it was demonstrations protesting my COVID-19 executive orders, or large crowds marching for the cause of Black Lives Matter to call for police reform, I have supported the rights of all Oregonians to peacefully protest.

“For months this summer, we have seen powerful images of Oregonians uniting for the cause of racial justice, calling for justice for Black men and women who have been killed by police violence. We remember them, we say their names. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. And far too many other Black lives taken by racist violence.

“For weeks, we have also seen small groups of demonstrators from all ends of the political spectrum who are intent on committing acts of vandalism and violence. Tragically, yesterday a life was lost in downtown Portland. We do not yet know the full circumstances of this person’s death. Regardless, a life has been lost, and our hearts go out to this person’s family. We will find those who were responsible, and they will be held accountable.”

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Chair Deborah Kafoury statement on Aug. 29 shooting in downtown Portland

Last night, an event that was clearly intended to intimidate, provoke and endanger individuals resulted in a fatality. The loss of life is tragic and unacceptable.

We are witnessing the self-perpetuating cycle of violence fueled by white supremacy. We cannot forget that the protests Portland has seen for more than 90 days began in response to the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was then the latest victim of a long and horrendous history of police brutality against Black people, itself a feature of the systemic racism that poisons our country.

While the overwhelming majority of protestors have engaged in non-violent demonstration to call for police accountability, racial justice and the dismantling of racist institutions, we have also seen instances of interpersonal violence, vandalism and destruction.

Then last night — stoked by a president who has gone out of his way to demonize this city and encourage vigilantism in service to white supremacy and his own fragile ego — armed participants of a pro-Trump caravan terrorized downtown Portland, driving their vehicles and shooting paintballs and pepper spray directly at community members and journalists. They came to create confrontation and were able to do so.

This tragedy will be used to justify escalating violence. It will be used to paint an entire movement with a broad and misleading brush. And sadly, it will be used by the occupant of the White House to deepen divisions and fear.

Those of us who believe in, and are working toward, a more just and equitable community must take an unequivocal stand against the violence that structural racism inflicts on Black and other people of color, against violence inflicted by police, and against violence between community members.

And the most effective way to do that is to stand for and build toward something better — to engage in the hard work of transforming the public safety system, ensuring equal opportunity and making tangible progress toward racial justice. Multnomah County is doing that work now, and we are wholly committed to the long-term work ahead.

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Today, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt joined Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell at a press conference to address the homicide that occurred in downtown on August 29, 2020. A copy of DA Schmidt’s prepared remarks are below:

“Thank you Mayor Wheeler and Chief Lovell.

Martin Luther King said: ‘We must learn to live together as Brothers or perish together as fools…’

Those words are as true today as they were when Dr. King spoke them 56 years ago in St. Louis.

I know today a lot of my neighbors in Multnomah County are fearful and hurting.

I understand that.

We are stunned and saddened.

We are angry and frustrated that this has happened in our community.

That the right— the duty even— to peacefully protest and speak out for an end to systemic racism that has plagued our country for generations has been undermined by this terrible act of violence.

But my message today to my neighbors is this: We can never allow hatred, racism, division and violence to win.

When we allow that, democracy loses.

When we allow violence and division to triumph, hope dies.

The violence that is occurring in our city needs to stop.

Far too many people have been injured and now someone has died.

Our community is being terrorized by people coming into Portland for the explicit purpose of committing violence.

That is not acceptable.

We are seeing too much tragedy across our city.

A teenager died the other night in a shooting in northeast Portland.

One woman described the blood that was everywhere in a media report.

She did what neighbors do – she used a belt as a tourniquet to try to stop it.

Hate, division, hopelessness and too many guns in the wrong hands is fueling this round of violence. It will take all of us together to stop the bleeding in our community – and in our country.

My office is working closely with the Portland Police Bureau and Mayor Wheeler to investigate last night’s shooting.

As you have heard mentioned earlier in this press conference, we need the cooperation of the public. It is vital that we find answers.

In the midst of the nightly violence, we have also seen a sudden and alarming increase in gun violence.

We know there are individuals who are intent on causing violence and property damage.

I am thankful to the officers and detectives working with Chief Lovell to investigate these crimes.

I know and expect that cases of violence will be investigated and then submitted to my office for review.

My office does not prosecute individuals based on their ideologies or affiliations with political or nonpolitical organizations.

We will initiate a criminal case following a review of all available evidence and whenever legally and ethically appropriate, pursuant to state and constitutional law.

We support freedom of speech. We support non-violent protests. We support speaking out to improve our communities.

We support standing up for each other.

What we do not support is violence.

We are in a pivotal time right now. We cannot afford to allow the calls for social justice and an end to systemic racism to be overshadowed by violence.

We cannot allow this critical moment in our history to be hijacked.

This is our community. We are strong.

We reject violence and when it occurs, my office is ready to hold offenders accountable.

Together, in Dr. King’s words: ‘Let’s choose to live together as Brothers and Sisters– not perish together as fools.’

Thank you.”


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