Fatal shooting spurs protest at Portland cop's Tigard home
Squad cars nearly outnumbered demonstrators during a rally outside what activists say is the Tigard home of a Portland cop who fatally shot a homeless man last month.
Portland Police Bureau Officer Zachary DeLong remains on paid administrative leave after he shot and killed Robert Delgado in Lents Park on April 16. A month later, on Sunday, May 16, a crowd of less than a dozen chanted "a murderer lives here" to passing traffic on Southwest Durham Road across the street from Tigard High School.
"Nobody named Zach lives here," said one gray-bearded man who briefly emerged from a fenced-off single-level home.
More than six marked and unmarked Tigard patrol cars, a police drone and a Transit Police car monitored the event from the school's parking lot, with officers occasionally cruising past while filming the small crowd using cell phones.
Protesters wheat-pasted posters reading "Stay in Tigard, Zach. Our community doesn't need, nor want you" on utility poles, though neighbors ripped some down or painted them over.
While fliers promoting the protest — which included an address alleged to be DeLong's residence — were spread widely on social media, a flurry of behind-the-scenes disagreement saw some left-wing protesters discouraging attendance at the event, citing the higher likelihood of the Washington County District Attorney pursuing charges.
Activists also believe that secret indictments are lying in wait for protesters who smashed up the Tigard Police station in January following the fatal police shooting of Jacob Macduff, a local man who was experiencing mental health issues.
On Sunday, a number of pro-police counter-protesters parked their trucks on Southwest 92nd Avenue near the high school, but neither side engaged beyond terse discussions.
Dave, a counter-protester identifying himself as a Tigard resident and military veteran, admitted that there are some bad apples in every profession, but said he believes most police officers effectively serve and protect their communities.
"I'm not gonna allow this group to come in and intimidate him, when he's doing his job," he said, referring to the protest group and Officer DeLong. "They should sign up if they think that they could be a better cop than he can."
Police did not make any arrests during the event, though one protester was pulled over as he left the event for allegedly running a stop sign. The activist said he was not cited.
While many of the details of Delgado's death have not yet been released, Portland police say they responded to the area following 911 calls regarding a man with a gun in the park; an eyewitness who filmed the fatal encounter told Willamette Week that Delgado was reaching for an object in his camp when DeLong opened fire with an AR-15 rifle from 90 feet away.
Police say they recovered a replica firearm with an orange tip at the scene. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office have agreed to jointly investigate the shooting, which is not standard but accords with the Delgado family's wishes.
"As with any gathering, we support the right to peacefully assemble and protest, but acts of criminality or violence will not be tolerated," said Kelsey Anderson, a spokeswoman for Tigard police. "We appreciate that the people who attended last night remained peaceful."
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