A press conference is held Sunday outside the damaged Portland Police Association headquarters.

SCREENSHOT - The Rev. Matt Hennesee and Porltand Police Association President Daryl Turner outside the damaged Portland Police Association building.Portland police representatives and community members reached out to protesters in a politically-charged Sunday press conference.

They called for a moratorium on the nightly violent protests and a community conversation about solutions.

Escalating protests against systemic racism in Portland have generated national and even international news stories. Demostrators broke into the police union headquarters and set it on fire Saturday night,

Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner, who is Black, joined other community members outside the damaged building on Sunday to call for a moratorium in the nightly violence and a conversation about proposals for change. He was joined by longtime local civil rights activists, who said the nightly violence was distracting from the larger message of racial equality.

Pastor Matt Hennessee called for a conversation about solutions, anytime and anywhere.

Antoinette Edwards, who retired a year ago as director of Portland's Office of Youth Violence Intervention, also spoke.

"We need to be together," she said. "I have 21 grandchildren. They deserve a better world than what we're giving them. But no more of this. No more of this."

Some community members showed up and challenged the commitment to change. Turner fielded questions and promised the police want to be part of the solution.

Hennessee of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church began by "begging you to put down your need for violence and meet us so we can move forward."

Others included Sam Sachs, founder of the No Hate Zone, plus a state representative and former police officer, and Will Aitchison, who is a former lawyer for the PPA but described himself as a longtime protester.

They all provided different reasons for being there, but they all agreed on one thing: The violence has to stop.

"Picking up a brick and hurling it at a building is not a conversation. Throwing feces is not a conversation. It's time to talk," Aitchison said. "Much has been accomplished in the past six weeks if you stop and think about it. We need to sit down together and talk."

Before taking a few questions, Turner spoke and said everyone is committed to making the changes that are needed — non-violently.

"We are more than willing, ready and able to sit down and make the reforms," Turner said. "But we can't do that if we're out here every night putting fires out … We need to change that and need our community to do that because our elected officials won't."

Turner, who has been outspoken in recent days demanding the city's elected leaders condemn the violence, looting and destruction, again made that same demand.

"We need to de-escalate the violence," he said. "We need to de-escalate what's going on."

KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can find their story here.

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