PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Demonstrators with the group Don’t Shoot PDX rallied in downtown Portland Friday, marching through the streets and briefly clashing with Malheur Refuge supporters outside the Federal Courthouse.
The group was out to protest the events at City Hall on October 12 and to promote organizer Teresa Raiford as a write-in candidate for Multnomah County Sheriff.
Leaders on megaphones chanted Raiford’s name, urging people to “write in Raiford,” for Multnomah County Sheriff.
Raiford spoke to those gathered about police brutality and unfair treatment of black people in Oregon.
“We know how corrupt Oregon is, and I think the whole world knows how corrupt Oregon is,” Raiford said. “They know that Oregon — the white utopia, whitelandia — is racist as f— right? We all know that right?”
Raiford and others also added “F— the police” to their chants.
The protesters started on the PSU campus, marched to the U.S. courthouse and eventually moved to outside City Hall where organizer Gregory McKelvey provided the group with a recap of recent demonstrations by their group.
Several people spoke about the October 12 confrontation they had City Hall, when they say they wanted to speak to Mayor Charlie Hales but were met with police brutality.
On that day, several protesters were pepper sprayed and 10 were arrested.
Micah Rhodes with Don’t Shoot PDX said he was knocked unconscious, stepped on and maced that day. Rhodes also promoted Raiford’s write-in candidacy for Multnomah County Sheriff, saying she doesn’t just stand for black people, but for all people.
Rhodes said she’s the best person for any position and the best person he knows.
At one point, the group confronted supporters of the Malheur refuge takeover defendants outside the U.S. court house. The 7 defendants, including Ammon and Ryan Bundy, were found not guilty on October 27.
Raiford linked the Malheur verdict to the issue of white privilege, saying police use a “color scheme to figure out who’s a criminal and who isn’t.”
Demonstrators said Friday that if they had taken over a federal facility, they would have been convicted.
At one point, Don’t Shoot PDX protesters burned an American flag that organizer Greg McKelvey said was given to them by a Bundy supporter.
The woman who claimed the flag belonged to her was upset that they burned her property.
“Don’t you see what you guys are doing?” she said. “This isn’t peaceful.”
Later McKelvey said it’s their 1st Amendment right to burn a flag. He said he wasn’t there when it happened but that the flag was given to them, not taken from the woman.