PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland police union is calling on local leaders to do more in the fight against gun violence.
In a statement posted Tuesday on Facebook, Portland Police Association Executive Director Daryl Turner blamed gang violence for “costing lives in Portland.” Turner said there have been 33 shootings, 14 gunshot victims and four homicides within the past week.
“Over 50 bullets rang out last night—50 potential death sentences. This was retaliatory gang violence. 4 people were shot and rushed into Legacy Emanual Hospital,” Turner said in the post. “City Council: do you hear gunfire in your neighborhoods? Where are your solutions? Victims and their families are waiting, Portlanders are waiting. Stop making excuses—fix the problem. Our City deserves a response that meets the urgency of the situation.”
Lionel Irving is the founder of Love is Stronger — a group focused on stopping the city’s cycle of violence and keeping young men out of prison. Irving calls himself a “gang veteran” and spent 15 years in federal prison.
“I wouldn’t call it a gang violence problem, because that’s a real loaded word. What we got going on is inter-community violence,” said Irving.
He thinks the retaliatory shootings in the Portland area will only get worse.
“When you have retaliation, it’s like a brush fire: you create shooters,” Irving said. “If I get shot today, one of my nephews or cousins that didn’t even think about shooting nobody has the potential to become a shooter because he’s sad. He don’t know how to deal with the trauma he’s suffering from so he’s going to go explode the only way he knows how.”
Irving is also calling city leaders to come together to solve gun violence but through a more holistic approach that involves the community and the police.
“Everybody wants to further their career — while they’re writing laws or rules, we’re writing obituaries,” he said. “I would like to see them having a holistic approach where they bring everyone to the table. No one is at the table together, I’d like to see us at the table together.”
While Irving doesn’t support the total abolishment of police, he said he did agree with the disbanding of the Portland Police Bureau’s Gun Violence Reduction Team. He hopes the community can work toward the common goal of making the city a safer place.
“I’m so passionate about this, there are so many different solutions,” Irving said.
KOIN 6 News has reached out to city commissioners and received the following statement from Commissioner Mingus Mapps:
- “Enough is enough. We must end this cycle of violence. To the police officers that protected the four shooting victims at Emmanuel hospital, I say thank you. To the police and FBI that are working tirelessly to stem the absolute tide of retaliatory killings, I say thank you. To the kids of the community I say, I am going to do everything in my power to protect you.
- To the rest of my council colleagues, I say that the events of this past weekend have only heightened the stakes for us to be successful.
- I am hopeful that the additional millions we are putting into culturally specific intervention efforts will help save youth in our communities from falling further into a cycle of violence.
- Another important step is establishing the new oversight group that will be part of the radical collaboration between the community and Police Bureau’s Focused Intervention Team. The officers that have stepped forward to be a part of this team have a unique role to play in putting a stop to the shocking violence on Portland’s streets. We must get this aspect of the work right and not repeat the mistakes of the past.
- Looking ahead, I want to make sure that Council stays laser focused on this issue and expands the way we approach gun violence. We are looking at how to take a more place-based approach to addressing violence and working together to gather the data, strategies, and resources to make that happen.”