PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Thousands of protesters who gathered for the sixth consecutive night of protests in Portland, Oregon remained peaceful.
The Portland Police Bureau said Thursday that a crowd estimated at 10,000 or more dispersed by 2 a.m. and there were no major issues.
Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday also ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff to honor George Floyd, the handcuffed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck during an arrest.
In Portland, a small number of what police described as “select agitators” stayed downtown into the early morning hours Thursday, setting small fires and vandalizing businesses. Officers had cleared the streets by about 4 a.m., authorities said in a statement.
“Tonight was a great example of a safe and responsible demonstration," Police Chief Jami Resch said in a statement. "This speaks to the testament of the thousands of participants and sends a powerful message.”
She also said police have seen a pattern of people who stay later, target the police, behave criminally and cause disorder and that they will work to identify, arrest and hold them responsible.
Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard joined protesters who filled downtown streets and bridges in Portland Thursday while smaller demonstrations happened throughout the state. Protesters marched, danced and listened to people speak. One Portland speaker told the crowd, “We can be nonviolent but we cannot be peaceful,” leading to protesters to chant "Nonviolent resistance."
Ariel Younce of Vancouver, Washington, told The Oregonian/OregonLive she attended the Portland gathering to advocate for justice for Floyd and for all people.
“This is enough,” she said. “Police brutality is not cool.”
Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero on Thursday said the district of more than 49,000 students would stop using school resource officers in their schools in response to concerns from demonstrators.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also said the Parkrose and David Douglas school districts, which also have Portland officers in their schools, would discontinue the program.
Resch said in a statement Thursday afternoon that all officers in the Portland Police Bureau's Youth Services Division would be immediately reassigned to the bureau's Operations Branch.
Portland Police Bureau "is committed to listening to the community and adapting as needed to best meet their expectations," she said. ”This decision is in no way a reflection of the amazing work and dedication school resource officers have provided for countless years."
She also said that if there is a public safety emergency at a school, police will still respond.