Protesters converge on Portland City Hall after Mayor Hales move - KPTV - FOX 12

Protesters converge on Portland City Hall after Mayor Hales moves meeting

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Protesters hung banners and waited in city hall for a response from Mayor Hales after he changed the venue of a meeting, a move the protesters say he made without notifying them. (KPTV) Protesters hung banners and waited in city hall for a response from Mayor Hales after he changed the venue of a meeting, a move the protesters say he made without notifying them. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Protesters with Don’t Shoot PDX camped out at Portland City Hall, waiting for a face-to-face meeting with Mayor Charlie Hales.

The mayor, though, was waiting for them at a north Portland church.

There were signs posted on the doors of City Hall saying that Hales would meet with protesters starting at 4 p.m. at the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church.

These protesters are not planning to go there, though, saying they made an appointment with the mayor last Friday to meet at City Hall and that they were never contacted about a change of venue, leaving them all upset.

A couple dozen protesters with Don’t Shoot PDX showed up with signs and banners at City Hall Tuesday afternoon, talking about issues with last Friday’s protest.

The group said they were having a peaceful demonstration and speaking out against the recent shootings of black men by police in Tulsa and Charlotte when they claim local cops became overly aggressive and even violent.

FOX 12 cameras captured some of the conflicts between officers and protesters, which included a couple of people being pepper sprayed.

The group spilled into City Hall and demanded a meeting with Mayor Hales. He met with the protesters, and members of Don't Shoot PDX said the two sides agreed to meet at City Hall Tuesday.

After seeing the signs showing the meeting had been changed to the church, organizers said they feel slighted.

“So to leave a meeting where we sat there and agreed to meet today here, to move that meeting and to talk to the black friends he knows or the black people that he knows, is entirely disrespectful to our movement and it’s incredibly disingenuous,” Greg McKelvey with Don’t Shoot PDX said.

A spokesman with the mayor’s office said that both sides were aware of the venue change.

After seeing posts on social media on Tuesday from people threatening to occupy City Hall, Mayor Hales said he moved the meeting to the First Baptist Church. He believed this would allow the 200 plus employees working in the building to not be disturbed.

Mayor Hales said he wanted it to be a conversation and not an occupy situation.

"I'm not interested in having this building occupied, I am interested in having a dialogue tonight and any other night and any other day with people who want to talk about the issues of race, about the police bureau, about anything else that I can have an effect on as your mayor and as the person in charge of police."

Mayor Hales showed up to City Hall just after 7 p.m. and answered people's questions in an effort to continue an open dialogue about racial issues and the new police contract. 

That new contract would increase pay for police officers, among other changes.

Many said they're not for it because they don't want officers inside their kids schools. They say they're concerned about police brutality, pay hikes, and a number of other things.

Others at City Hall were upset about the mayor deciding to move the meeting to the church. They said the main purpose of coming to City Hall was to file complaints against the police officers who wronged them.

Fox 12 spoke with a woman who said her daughter was punched in the chest on Friday during the protests by an officer, and because City Hall doors were locked on Tuesday, she was not able to make that complaint.

"My daughter here is 14 years old, she's a black girl and she has every right to be out here and protest and fight for her rights," said Danialle James.

Over a dozen people camped out at City Hall overnight and are hoping to get the chance to speak with Mayor Hales Wednesday morning.

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