Community leaders come together to discuss increase in gun violence in Portland
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A group of leaders from Portland’s Black community came together to discuss the recent surge in shootings in Portland.
The violence has to stop: that’s the plea that is growing more desperate by the day.
The Portland Police Bureau says there were 99 shootings during the month of July. That’s compared to 35 shootings in July 2019.
In all, 38 people were shot and 34 of them were men.
According to the bureau, a little more than 66 percent were African American.
Leaders of organizations and churches and mothers who lost sons to gun violence came together Thursday morning, pleading for their community to re-imagine safety in the city.
Many want to see changes in the police bureau and expressed different views on what should change.
While some said they don’t want to bring back the Gun Violence Reduction Team, which was accused of racial profiling, they also wondered how officials could get rid of the GVRT without putting something else in its place as the city deals with gun violence.
Lucy Mashia spoke at the gathering. Her son Leonard James Irving Jr. was shot and killed on the streets of Portland in 2011.
“On June 26, 2011, my whole world ended. I got a knock on the door to tell me that my son had been shot four times in the back and that he was dead. I didn’t believe them,” said Mashia. “I ran out to 82nd to see. Not my son, my son ain’t in no gang. What do you mean? My son is dead? What are you talking about? It was my son.”
Some say it’s clear that Portland has a gang problem, and that no one should say it does not, that no one in power should be making decisions who thinks there is no gang problem.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell was also at the gathering on Thursday.
“Today is about the community voice, and these are the voices that we need to have amplified,” said Lovell.
Lovell went on to say that the police bureau is dedicating resources to investigating recent deadly shootings, and that the bureau is committed to ending the violence going on in Portland.
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