Portland NAACP: ‘We have to focus back on the real issue’

2020 Protests

Nightly protests in downtown Portland have been marked by clashes between federal agents and demonstrators

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night at the steps of the Multnomah County Justice Center in an effort to refocus the attention of protests in Portland.

The Portland National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted the event called “Stand on Portland: Bringing Back the Focus.”

Pastor Roy Tate of Christ Memorial Community Church said while he wants federal law enforcement to leave immediately, he also believes it’s a distraction.

“Everybody is upset, we don’t really need them here,” Tate said. “But I think it’s a distraction that’s coming from Number 45 — you know, to send troops in here. It just causes some chaos.”

Tate used Mayor Ted Wheeler’s experience with clashes between protesters and federal agents on Wednesday as an example. Wheeler stood with protesters as they were hit with tear gas in front of the federal courthouse.

“I think that’s ridiculous; if the mayor gets it, what do you think about the rest of us?” Tate asked.

Michelle DePass, who is a member of the Portland Public Schools Board of Education, attended Thursday’s rally.

“Me and my parents and grandparents have been advocating for Black Lives Matter for years. There is nothing new but it does need to be front and center,” explained DePass.

In an earlier statement, the NAACP condemned the actions of federal officers in Portland as “reprehensible” but also ridiculed the actions of “mostly white anarchists.”

“The focus is Black Lives Matter,” said Tate. “The focus is that we have got police reform in the legislature. We have to focus back on the real issue.”

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