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Ore. Protest Turns to Riot after Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict

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Windows were broken and doors of city buildings damaged during a demonstration in downtown Portland, forcing the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office to declare a riot.

November 21, 2022 – By Jack Forrest – Source oregonlive.com

The not-guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial spurred a call Friday in Oregon for gun law reforms, a demand for a federal investigation of what happened in Kenosha and pleas for people to remain peaceful.

“Some people may be hurting hearing this verdict today. Please take care of each other in this difficult moment,” Gov. Kate Brown tweeted. “We have a lot of work to do as a country in building a more just and equitable future.”

Mayor Ted Wheeler said: “I join with many Portlanders and Oregonians in feeling profoundly disappointed on the Rittenhouse trial verdict. Our work to reform and improve the criminal justice system must continue.”

Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty tweeted: “We have an injustice system in America.”

The Legislature’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color Caucus said the verdict “was disappointing and not surprising.”

“We know that failures in our justice system are deeply entrenched,” the caucus said in a statement. “The U.S. Department of Justice must investigate the circumstances surrounding this deeply troubling situation in Kenosha and its rippling impacts across the country.”

Several groups across Oregon, including in Portland and Salem, urged people to meet Friday evening to mourn those killed by Rittenhouse. About 100 people gathered in downtown Portland near the Multnomah County Justice Center to condemn the verdict. Several hours later, police reported people breaking windows and damaging doors of city buildings. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office declared a riot, citing damage to the downtown jail’s gate.

Police said they arrested one person for an outstanding warrant and issued five citations.

KATU, the Portland television station, shared video showing one of its camera crews being confronted by masked people dressed in black who demanded they stop filming. No one was injured, but a camera was damaged, the station said.

Rittenhouse, now 18, killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, then shot to death Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, in the summer of 2020 during a protest over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer.

He claimed self-defense and was acquitted of all charges, including homicide and attempted homicide. He used an AR-style semi-automatic rifle, a weapon authorities said was illegally purchased for him because he was underage.

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the Police Bureau will monitor city streets Friday night.

“Here in Portland especially it’s reasonable to expect there will be some type of reaction to the verdict,” Lovell said during a general news conference scheduled before the verdict was announced. “We’re supportive of peaceful protests, people exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Here’s a look at what others said:

Sandy Chung, executive director of Oregon ACLU, released a statement: “Our hearts and souls are heavy. We have so much anger, sorrow, and despair for the repeated violence and lack of accountability perpetuated by systemic racism and white supremacy. This jury verdict shows us again that anti-Black racism remains deeply embedded in our country’s consciousness and systems, including the legal system.”

Portland Commissioner Mingus Mapps said in a statement: “The Wisconsin verdict reinforces the legitimate grievance of a double standard of how laws are applied based on race. This grievance is exactly why people took to the streets last year….I understand that people may feel the need to protest, and I encourage the exercise of free speech. I ask, for the sake of Portland, that protesters refrain from engaging in violence.”

Portland Commissioner Carmen Rubio tweeted: “Today, I’m sad, disappointed, & upset. Once again, we find ourselves confronting the cold reality that, unless we change the rulebook, the outcomes will remain the same w/in our justice system….So today, I hope we will not allow this to drag us into the dredges of despair. Our work continues in the face of this and other injustices, with love for all, and determination. Do not be discouraged.”

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Chief Operating Officer Serena Cruz said in a message to county employees: “What we saw in Kenosha are the limitations of a criminal legal system that was originally built for and in response to the dominant culture, perpetuating and enforcing systems of oppression. Multnomah County is committed to serving communities that have historically been harmed by those systems, while helping transform these systems to equitably serve all community members. This work spans all of our departments and programs, and is the particular responsibility of all of us in public service.”

Tina Kotek, Oregon’s speaker of the House and 2022 Democratic candidate for governor, tweeted: “A white teen, Kyle Rittenhouse, armed himself, crossed state lines, and killed two people. I’m outraged by this verdict and deeply concerned about the dangerous precedent it perpetuates for our country.”

State Treasurer and Democratic candidate for governor Tobias Read tweeted: “I’m disgusted with the verdict in the #RittenhouseTrial. Two people are dead because a young man drove hours to a protest and played vigilante, waiving an AR-15 around until he provoked a response. We can’t react to this senseless violence with more violence — we need to come together to fix our #gunlaws and prevent more needless deaths. #orpol

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt tweeted: “To the victims, who are grappling with the loss of two lives and who testified as our Country watched, thank you for your courage. The work to reform our criminal justice system is evident, it is urgent and I am here for it.”

©2021 Advance Local Media LLC. 

Visit oregonlive.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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