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We must reject the violence

I grieve today, for our community and communities across the country.

The protests in Portland and across the country are almost entirely peaceful. They are a righteous response to generations of racism in our institutions and unacceptable police violence against Black men, women, and children.

While overwhelmingly peaceful, there are those—mostly young men, mostly white—who have hijacked these protests and used them as an opportunity to commit violence of their own.

The police have responded with an unacceptable level of force, failing to distinguish between those bent on violence from those peacefully protesting.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has repeatedly conflated property damage and graffiti with violence, using it as an excuse to bring in federal Homeland Security agents to wage violence of their own, including seizing protestors without due process of law.

Trump has encouraged a backlash from his supporters, and last night he got what he wanted—a parade of right-wing agitators in our city itching for a fight. They used large vehicles, brandished weapons, and used pepper spray and paintball guns to harass, intimidate, threaten, and injure protestors.

And worst of all, one person was shot and killed near the protest. We don't yet know the full circumstances, but any loss of life is a terrible tragedy.

This violence is unacceptable. But let us be absolutely clear: It is overwhelmingly one-sided.

Again and again, the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests have been hijacked by those who want to brawl with police, rather than demand justice. The police have too often responded with indiscriminate use of force. And now, right-wing extremists have arrived in our city to do violence of their own.

So, as a leader in my community and in our state, let me be clear:

We have enacted, and will continue to enact, fundamental reforms to policing.

We are committed to addressing racism in housing, education, health care as well as in criminal justice reform

Those we entrust to enforce the law must rise above, not reply in kind.

Peaceful protest is patriotic.

Property destruction is wrong, but it is not violence.

Violence is always wrong.

Racism is evil.

Black lives matter.


Posted on August 30, 2020.