PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A protest demanding justice for a Portland teenager who was shot to death by Portland police started early Thursday night in the South Park Blocks.
“We came out here to confront the police about their actions and their injustices,” said Dylan Palmer with the Portland Student Action Network.
Things started out peaceful but escalated as the group began marching around downtown Portland.
Portland police said people threw signs and cones into the street and confronted officers on SW Oak St. Later, several people surrounded an occupied car and broke the window of a van before running away.
Police arrested 19-year-old Zachary Lange on a riot charge in connection with the altercation involving a driver.
Quanice Hayes was killed by Portland police after an armed robbery in Northeast Portland. Hayes, 17, had a realistic-looking replica gun when he was confronted by police.
The medical examiner said the teen was shot 3 times in the chest.
The protest was organized by the Portland Student Action Network. In a press release, organizers said some members “knew Quanice personally and we will fight for justice in honor of him. … We are calling for a peaceful event to show the community’s resistance to oppression and injustice.”
At a vigil February 11, Hayes’ friends said they can’t make sense of the allegations against him.
Two days earlier, a man sleeping in his car across the street from the Portland Value Inn, 1707 NE 82nd Avenue, was robbed at gunpoint.
The victim of the armed robbery — who requested anonymity — told KOIN 6 News he heard a knock on his car window, and thought it was his friend who stays at the motel.
“I lowered the car window and here comes a .45 straight in my face. After that, he’s going through the whole car, he’s threatening me,” he said. “I say, ‘Just leave me alone, I don’t have anything, I’m just as homeless as you. I just have this damn car.’”
The victim said he believed the robber had only scary words to say.
“‘You’re lucky you’re not dead right now,’” the victim said the robber told him. “‘I’m from Chicago. Usually we shoot you first, then we’ll take your stuff.’ That’s the first thing that came out of his mouth.”
The next day, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and PPB Chief Mike Marshman held a press conference to address the shooting.
Wheeler said that day that shootings involving police are always concerning, especially when there is a fatality but, “when the person who is killed is a black teenager, it taps into deep historical wounds.”
“We can’t sit here today and ignore what’s happening across out country. I’m not assigning blame, I’m not making a judgement today. I’m not going to do that until I have all the facts,” Wheeler said. “I am affirming that the events that happened here in Portland are happening all too often.”
Wheeler said his heart goes out to Hayes’ family and loved ones. The mayor also said the officers involved are “deeply shaken” by what happened.