Portland Police Chief Frank Clark took a knee in solidarity with demonstrators outside the police headquarters Tuesday evening as hundreds of people took to the streets for a third consecutive night of protesting police brutality against black people.
Organizers pleaded with demonstrators to remain peaceful after nearly two dozen people were arrested the night before in a demonstration that swelled to more than 1,000 people, some of whom blocked roads, smashed windows and hurled bottles, rocks and bricks at police.
Clark said Tuesday that he supports people’s rights to protest and added that local police “are also disgusted” by officers’ actions that preceded the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which set off national demonstrations. But he said some of the protesters in Portland “ended up making this event anything other than a peaceful and lawful protest.”
“They took the opportunity to commit acts of violence, damage public and private property, and place my officers and the public at risk. We will not stand for such criminal behavior,” he said in a statement.
Monday night, police used pepper spray to drive back the demonstrators who were throwing objects. Hundreds also gathered Sunday night.
Twenty-two people were charged late Monday with failure to disperse, and a Massachusetts man was charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon for driving a tractor-trailer into the melee. No one was injured.
Protests have spread across the country in response to the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him down and pressed a knee into his neck as Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.
Source: Associated Press