Leader calls for taking a stand after Minneapolis death
The Portland NAACP announced Thursday it would lead a protest in downtown Portland Friday to take a stand against police brutality in solidarity with protests that have erupted across the country after a black man in Minneapolis died after a police officer held him in custody by pinning his neck to the ground with his knee for several minutes even after complaining he couldn’t breathe.
The protest will take place on Friday, May 29 at 11:30 a.m. at Terry Schrunk Plaza. Participants are asked to practice social distancing and to wear masks and gloves in light of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent public health crisis.
Portland NAACP President E.D. Mondainé said several community leaders plan to attend, including Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty; Urban League of Portland President Nkenge Harmon Johnson, Marcus Mundy of the Coalition of Communities of Color, Rabbi Ariel Stone of Congregation Shir Tikvah, David Alexander of POIC and poet Emmett Wheatfall.
“This week the nation played witness to yet another slaying of a Black man at the hands of police. George Floyd, a 46-year-old Minneapolis resident, cried out for his mother as a cop stood on his neck, crushing the life from his body,” Portland NAACP President E.E. Mondainé declared in a news release. “As a result, Floyd’s family joined the company of countless Black parents who have seen their greatest fears realized. The ever-present dread of Black parents—that their children will become yet another statistic of police brutality—has once again been proven justified.”
“In a just nation, all citizens must be afforded the same protections under the law. America will have to earn the trust of the Black community if we are to move forward together. This starts with a painful but necessary reflection on the pattern of beliefs and behaviors that lead to tragedies like the death of George Floyd,” Mondainé said.
Portland Police Chief Jami Resch released a statement Thursday saying the incident in Minneapolis will strengthen the resolve of the Portland Police Bureau to work even harder to earn the trust of the community, especially with persons of color.
Resch pointed to the extensive work the Portland Police Bureau has done on its use of force policies over the last few years. She said police officers have a duty to reasonably intercede to prevent the use of unlawful force by another officer.
Portland police officers also engage in rigorous and in-depth training on use of force and its policies, beyond the Oregon State standards, she said, in order to provide its members with the most up-to-date information and practices. PPB officers also receive training about implicit bias and procedural justice.