PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nearly 3 months after Jason Washington was shot to death outside a bar near the Portland State University campus, another round of student-protests to disarm the campus police is underway.
Protesters have set up a tent and are occupying the area outside the front door of the campus security office and say they will stay there around-the-clock. They’re calling for people to attend the PSU board meeting next week to show support for disarming the campus police.
The protest began Monday at noon with a rally and a march through city streets. Though a grand jury cleared the officers of any criminal charges, there is a groundswell of support to urge the board of trustees to reverse their years-old decision to arm campus police.
Washington’s daughter, Kayla Washington, was among the protesters Monday.
“He did was he always did,” she said. “That’s protect his friends. That’s all he want to do and he was shot in the back.”
The PSU Student Union’s Twitter account announced the rally on Sept. 13, the same day a grand jury ruled there would be no criminal prosecution in the death of Washington, who was struck by 9 of 17 shots fired outside of the Cheerful Tortoise on June 29. He was 45.
It is evident to us he was a victim of racial profiling from PSU police. This is why we do not, and have never wanted armed police officers on PSU’s campus. Please join us to fight for justice for Jason on September 24th in the PSU Park Blocks for a rally and march.— PSU Student Union (@PortlandStateSU) September 13, 2018
Washington was shot and killed after witnesses said he was trying to break up a fight outside around 1:30 a.m. He was carrying a gun and had a concealed weapon permit. At one point, he lost his balance and fell — causing his gun to fall out of its holster, according to some witnesses.
The medical examiner’s report, which was released last week, said Washington died from multiple gunshots to his torso. He was hit in the chest, lower abdomen, thighs and back. Two of the gunshots grazed his head and lower back.
The gunshot wounds damaged his heart, aorta, lungs, liver, spleen, stomach and colon. Bullets also caused fractures of his collar bone and ribs.
Officer James Dewey and Officer Shawn McKenzie were later identified as the two officers involved.
Though the rally’s announcement came on the same day of the grand jury’s decision, Dey told KOIN 6 News on Sunday that the rally doesn’t center around that ruling.
“One of the things we are looking towards is how the university is going to react, because even though we expected this decision from the grand jury, we do want to see the policy actually change,” Dey said, “and for us this is more about the policy and making sure this doesn’t happen in the future.”
In a statement Monday afternoon, PSU officials said:
“Jason Washington’s death has had a profound impact on the Portland State community, and the university recognizes the right to participate in peaceful protest. PSU has hired an independent security consulting firm to review campus safety policies and procedures, which will hold a series of public forums in the upcoming weeks on this issue to provide students, faculty, staff and the public opportunities to speak. That review will study all options to protect the campus and make recommendations to President Rahmat Shoureshi and the PSU Board of Trustees. The PSU student government president and campus administrators will also send a message tomorrow to PSU students about the resources available for those searching for support or seeking opportunities to reflect on the topic.”
The student union held a similar rally on June 30, the day after Washington was killed. More than 100 students gathered at Pioneer Courthouse Square and spoke out against armed officers, a decision that was put into place in 2015.
“No one should feel like the employees of the university could potentially kill someone in our community,” said Camill Abrau, a member of the student government.
“At the end of the day we have to center this conversation around the fact that someone was murdered. His name is Jason Washington.”