‘Dark morning in America’: Wheeler extends Portland curfew

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler extended a curfew for the City of Portland Sunday upon discussing the city’s response to the second night of violent demonstrations. The restriction will again begin at 8 p.m. and last through 6 a.m. Monday.

Wheeler was joined by fellow city leaders to comment on the aftermath of the rioting and plans for moving forward.

Wheeler opened his brief address Sunday morning by saying cities across the country “are waking up to a dark morning in America. The cause that rallied the country to decry systematic violence and racism against our black friends and neighbors … has been co-opted by rioters and looters to use the moral soul of this movement as cover to destroy our communities.”

Portland police dispersed hundreds of protesters in the 2nd night of civil disturbance, May 30, 2020 (KOIN)

At least 48 people were arrested during Portland’s protest, police said, ranging in age from 19-49. A total of 26 people were charged with curfew violations, but all of them faced other, more serious charges, including riot, burglary and disorderly conduct. Another nine minors were detained and released to their parents on charges including curfew violation, riot, disorderly conduct, riot, burglary, theft.

Wheeler and other leaders commended the dispatchers and departments from around the metro area that provided support, as well as the contractors, volunteers and businesses who helped clean up the city Saturday morning and board up windows in preparation for more protests.

“We used every resource at our disposal and it was not enough”

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of downtown Portland Saturday night, mirroring the dozens of other protests in other major US cities. Protesters from coast to coast took to the streets over the death of George Floyd at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.

Portland Police Bureau Chief Jami Resch acknowledged the peaceful protests that happened Friday afternoon and said most of those demonstrators went home. However, the city later saw vandalism, a shooting, fires being set in occupied buildings, and an officer being injured by an incendiary device, Resch said.

“We used every resource at our disposal and it was not enough to stop the widespread criminal acts for several hours,” Resch said.

With an emergency order and curfew in hand, Resch said they were more prepared Saturday. They were able to bring in support from other law enforcement agencies including Gresham police, Port of Portland police, Multnomah County deputies, Washington County deputies, Washougal police, and the Oregon State Police.

Saturday’s crowds were also smaller, Resch said, though police still made significant arrests. Resch said those arrested were a mix of Portland residents and out-of-towners, but did not elaborate.

Sunday morning, the Council on American-Islamic Relations Oregon branch and the Oregon Justice Resource Center issued a joint statement condemning the implementation of a curfew as “an attack on our rights.”

The statement said in part, “This is a critical moment to confront police violence and brutality, protect black life, and support necessary healing for our communities of color through systematic reforms and resources. Instead, elected and public officials are responding to this moment using the same mechanisms that brought us here: aggressive policing. This curfew and response encourages law enforcement to continue targeting communities of color through a multitude of techniques which include an abuse of force.”

Wheeler will make a second press conference at 1:30 p.m. Sunday with community leaders at Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI) to talk about the impact of the demonstrations on local black communities.

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