PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Local leaders and community members are condemning nightly violence in Portland that’s gone on for more than a month and a half.
Demonstrations started the end of May after the death of George Floyd in the name of Black Lives Matter, racial justice and police reform.
FOX 12 spoke to a man who lives nearby who’s so tired of what’s gone on here. He decided to come down and make a statement of his own.
“I felt compelled to show my patriotism and to try to bring a different message to the courthouse,” Gabriel Johnson said.
On Saturday night, Johnson stood with an American flag. He says not as a political statement but as a symbol of unity, freedom and to show violence is not the American way.
You might recognize Gabriel from last night. He was at the courthouse with an American flag. He tells me it’s not political, that he felt compelled to stand with the flag as a symbol of patriotism, unity, and freedom, and to show people violence is not the American way pic.twitter.com/TCxyAoLqCa— Audrey Weil (@audreytweil) July 20, 2020
“I’m not taking any sides the side that I take is being a citizen of this country and being a citizen of Portland what’s going on from either side is not cool,” he said.
Johnson is a Marine veteran and lives just about a block from the Justice Center and federal courthouse with all that’s gone on here the past month and a half he says he can’t even relax in his own home.
“On Friday night I counted 82 explosions house full of gas. I’m on the 12 floor here it reminded me of being in Iraq and my experience of being Iraq not here in Portland not where it’s supposed to be safe not where it’s supposed to be peaceful,” he said.
Johnson believes the demonstrators who act violently are taking advantage of the initial cause.
“These people aren’t about Black Lives and they don’t represent me,” he said.
FOX 12 asked Portland NAACP President E.D. Mondaine what he thinks of that.
“I think it’s the leftists co opting the black lives matter movement,” Mondaine said.
He says the nightly violence we’ve seen is part of an overall revolution but with a different agenda.
“We have to somehow bring it back on point and we’re going to have to have a bigger voice than that of the leftists that have co opted this movement to take the attention from what really matters and what really matters is justice,” he said.
Mondaine says he’s hopeful that regardless of rioting, arson and destruction, the right message will prevail.
“I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that we will win this fight we will win this war on racism and we will be the great country that we are,” he said.
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