PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell and Officer Jakhary Jackson spoke about the ongoing violence in downtown Portland during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Lovell spoke about seeing the struggles of downtown business owners, changes within the police bureau under his leadership and the increase in shooting calls after the disbandment of the Gun Violence Reduction Team.
Asked if he thinks city council should be more forceful in denouncing the violence, he said, "This isn't just a police problem."
"This is a community problem. A city problem," Lovell said. "I think everyone has a role in speaking out against violence. And we're not talking about peaceful protests or people who are even upset and angry, voicing their displeasure."
Chief Lovell said he recently spoke with small business owners who are being hurt by the protests and he was touched by their stories.
"When folks are here doing extensive damage to city property--to people's businesses, people who are trying their best to eek out a livelihood amidst this pandemic,and they're suffering--I think everyone has a role in coming out and speaking out against that."
Officer Jackson, who grew up in Portland and graduated from Portland State University, shared his perspective of the peaceful protests being overshadowed.
“I got to see folks that really do want change like the rest of us, that have been impacted by racism, and then I got to see those people get faded out by people that have no idea what racism is all about,” said Jackson, who is Black.
Jackson is a member of the police bureau's Rapid Response Team.
“We don’t even want to come out. We would love for a demonstration to be peaceful and for us not to be involved,” Jackson said. “We would much rather be out there in the community taking 911 calls.”
Lovell and Jackson spoke with the media one day after the leadership of Portland's police union announced a vote of no confidence in city leaders, saying they do not believe commissioners or the mayor will act to stop violent protests in Portland.
Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner argued on Wednesday that the budget cut of $15 million the bureau recently took will not help with police reform. Instead, he put out an eight-point plan that he said would bring real change. It includes a return to community policing and federal money for body cameras, something Portland police do not have.
The police bureau also held a Wednesday news conference focused on what officers have been dealing with during nearly six weeks of nightly violence downtown.
Deputy Chief Chris Davis said downtown Portland has seen an estimated $23 million in lost revenue and damages since the protests began.