Kafoury, Brown blame Trump for protest shooting
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown blamed President Donald Trump for the fatal shooting during political confrontations in downtown Portland on Saturday night, Aug. 29.
A man reportedly wearing right-wing emblems was shot and killed by someone who ran away and has not been arrested. The shooting happened after Trump supporters drove into Portland from a Clackamas County rally, where they were confronted by counter-protesters.
In a Sunday morning statement, Kafoury said the Trump supporters were "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."
In an early Sunday afternoon statement, Brown said, "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."
Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Chuck Lovell were scheduled to address the shooting at a 1 p.m. press conference.
KOIN 6 News crews saw two men yelling and having an altercation around 8:45 p.m. Someone sprayed mace and then someone pulled out a gun. KOIN 6 News heard shots fired and saw the wounded man lying on the ground.
Police confirmed just before 9:30 p.m. Saturday that the victim, who was shot in the chest, had died. According to the Associated Press, the shooting victim was wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group whose members have frequently clashed with protesters in Portland over the years.
Here is Kafoury's complete statement:
"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 protesters 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."
Here is Brown's complete statement:
"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."
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story.
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