PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nearly 100 people gathered Saturday night to honor the man shot and killed by Portland State University police officers three months ago.
Jason Washington died on the sidewalk outside the Cheerful Tortoise while trying to break up a fight.
Protesters, many of whom have been camped out in front of the PSU public safety office for days, say they support Washington’s family and want to keep his memory alive.
“He was the strongest person I ever knew,” Jason’s daughter Myriah Washington said. “My birthday is on Monday. He’s going to miss my 16th birthday. He’s not going to see me graduate.”
His wife Michelle also asked for prayers for Jason’s brother Andre, who was hospitalized before the vigil.
“If we could just say a silent prayer for him to get better because he really truly wants to be here to fight this fight with us,” Michelle said.
Jason’s fantasy football trophy was placed on display along with photos of him.
“Seeing these pictures break my heart,” protester Megan Yasukawa said. “He was a person, and his life mattered.”
The group seeking to disarm PSU police say they aren’t moving until they see change. They are also calling for the officers involved in Washington’s death to be fired. A grand jury ruled the officers justified in using lethal force.
“I really think we should disarm our officers here,” Yasukawa said.
One member of the PSU faculty told the crowd some educators are working behind the scenes to held their cause.
“You are the fuel that keeps us going in this tragic time,” Marlene Howell in the women, gender and sexualities studies department said.
Protesters said they plan to stay there until they see change. They want to continue supporting Washington’s family and many plan to attend an October 4 board meeting.
“I’m still waiting for him to pop out — ‘guys I’m here,'” Myriah said. “I just want to say I love and miss him.”