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Black community leaders decried Friday the protesters who wreaked havoc on a predominantly minority Portland neighborhood in an attempt to set up a Seattle-style autonomous zone, telling the rioters to “get your knee off our neck.”
Protesters were thwarted as they tried to build a fence around the North Precinct, but instead set fires, looted and vandalized the surrounding buildings, at one point blocking and nailing shut exit doors so that police and others inside the precinct were trapped.
At a Friday press conference, community leaders said that all the Northeast Portland businesses damaged in the melee were minority-owned.
“Get your knee off our neck. That is what you are doing when you do stuff like this,” said J.W. Matt Hennessee, pastor of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church of Portland. “If I were to walk in your neighborhood — because 95% of you are White — just showing up would cause calls to the police bureau. I don’t have to set anything on fire, all we have to do is show up.”
He added: “And you think you’ve got the privilege to come into our community and start knocking out windows and doors? You’ve got something totally messed up.”
Amen, brother! Preach it! I wonder what he has to say about Seattle’s Mayor Durkan and her political philosophy.
Opposition mayoral candidate Iannarone responded to the looting, arson, and violence with the tweet: “I thought we banned the use of tear gas? If we haven’t, why the hell not? This is insanity.” It’s always nice when they reveal themselves before the election rather than after.
The police chief had some choice words for the terrorists that attacked his precinct building:
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell, who is Black, called the actions “not only reprehensible, but they’re evil.”
“Barricading a building and setting fire to it with people inside … and the acts that have been going on throughout this city while regular Portlanders are asleep [are] reprehensible, and it needs to stop and stop today,” Chief Lovell said.
Several speakers said that the protest violence had distracted from the push to address systemic racism and implement police reform, with some calling the destruction “terrorism.”
“We’ve got to call terrorism, terrorism,” said Pastor Steven Holt of the Kingdom Nation Church.
Added Lionel Irving of MenBuildingMen, which seeks to reduce street violence: “We cannot allow those guys to steal the narrative.”
There was considerable damage done, but the scene was brought under control and arrests were made. A better showing than many of late.Published in