Community members demand accountability from Portland city leaders after mass shooting

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 12:41 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Portland community members are demanding accountability from city leaders following Saturday’s mass shooting at Normandale Park.

The organizations Don’t Shoot Portland and Race Talks are banning together to bring attention to the shooting. They believe both Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Portland Police Bureau were biased and inconsistent in their response to the shooting.

The shooting at Normandale Park left 60-year-old Brandy Knightly dead and five others injured. The suspect, identified as 43-year-old Benjamin Smith, remains in serious condition at a Portland area hospital.

On Tuesday, Mayor Wheeler expressed his grief over recent shootings, calling it a “deadly, difficult, and disturbing weekend for the city.” Wheeler said he is still committed to hiring 300 officers in the next three years.

“I hear the anger and the frustration, maybe anything more else is fear that people are expressing and they need to know that their mayor takes this seriously, that I’m prioritizing it,” Wheeler said during a press conference Tuesday.

But community members and civil rights leaders said elected officials and police have continuously failed to ensure the safety of Portlanders from violence that they believe is racially motivated. They said the Normandale Park shooting is another example of that.

“It has long been known that racial violence is not exclusive to single persons. It is inflicted upon anyone who aligns themselves with human rights and dignity,” said a member of Don’t Shoot Portland said. “That is why we continue to denounce acts of white supremacy and vigilantly action, which has become an all too familiar pattern in recent years.”

The groups said elected leaders and police have been complicit in this violence, and they want them to be held accountable.

“How many times have we endured another act of violence in our city and spent the days trying to keep up with narratives provided by police to cover their tracks.”

Portland police said they are still investigating the shooting at Normandale Park, but said critical evidence was removed from the scene before officers arrived.