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Mayor Wheeler Addresses Deadly Violence Near Demonstrations

News article

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell and District Attorney Mike Schmidt join Mayor Wheeler in an effort to end nightly violence


On Sunday, August 30, 2020, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called a press conference following a shooting homicide that happened one night earlier. The shooting occurred several blocks from where supporters of President Donald Trump and counter-demonstrators were clashing. The homicide remains under investigation. Below is a copy of the prepared speech Mayor Wheeler delivered before taking questions from reporters.

My heart is heavy.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the man who was killed last night on the streets of our city. I mourn with you. I will support the police chief and the DA in apprehending and holding accountable those responsible for last night’s homicide.

I stand here today with the Police Chief and the DA to again denounce violence. The tragedy of last night cannot be repeated. All of us must take a stand against violence. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your politics are. Let’s all stop the violence.

For those of you saying on twitter that you plan to come into Portland to seek retribution, I am calling on you stay away. You have a constitutional right to be here, but we are asking you to stay away and help us de-escalate this situation.

And Portlanders, I’m asking you to do your part too. One death is one too many. Join me in denouncing all violence. Let’s pull together in the name of peace and humanity.

We don’t always have to agree. But we have long done so without violence. That’s part of what makes America strong. Let’s end this long, hard summer, and come together and work to lift each other, not tear ourselves apart.

I will continue to work with the community on the historic changes we have already made and have committed to making as we re-imagine public safety and racial justice in the months and years ahead. There’s much work to do, and I will be intentionally engaging the public in this hard work.

Yesterday’s events began with hundreds of cars filled with supporters of the President, rallying in Clackamas County and driving through Downtown Portland. They were supported and energized by the President, himself.

President Trump, for four years we have had to live with your racist attacks on black people. We learned early about your sexist attitudes toward women. We’ve had to endure clips of you mocking a disabled man, we’ve had to listen to your anti—democratic attacks on journalists, we’ve read your tweets slamming private citizens to the point of receiving death threats, we’ve listened to your attacks on immigrants, we’ve listened to you label Mexicans rapists, we’ve heard you say John McCain wasn’t a hero because he was a POW, and now you are attacking democratic mayors and the very institutions of democracy that have defined this nation since its founding.

Do you seriously wonder why this is the first time America has had this level of violence in decades? It is you who have created hate and division. It is you who have not found a way to say the names of black people shot by police officers even as our law enforcement officers have, it is you who claimed white supremacists are “good people.”

Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything you have done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country. You have tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history, and now you want me to stop the violence you helped create.

What America needs is for you to be stopped so that we can come back together as one America while recognizing that we must demand that all people, black, brown, white and every color from all political persuasions pull together to hold all people accountable in stopping racism, violence and we, together, are peaceful again with new leadership that reflects who we really are. We, the People, of this great nation.

President Trump, you bring no peace. You bring no respect to our democracy. You, Mr. President, need to do your part as the leader of this nation. And I, Mr. President, will join you in doing my part as the Mayor of this city. And we will both be held accountable.

I am calling out every elected official in Oregon to join me, not only in defeating racism, but also in helping me stop the violence as we are and will all be held accountable to all citizens.

Today - we need to decide who we are, and where we want to go from here.

Don’t let this be the spark that sets off an acceleration of hostilities in our beautiful city. Those are not our values. What happened last night doesn’t move us forward, it sets us back.

I know the values of this community.

We want to protest powerfully and peacefully. We believe that Black lives matter. And we believe that it is the responsibility of our leaders to ensure that the systems we have in place to protect and serve – do so equitably.

Let’s engage each other in thoughtful conversations about reform, and use the power of our shared values to move change forward.

We must re-commit our energy and our resources to advancing the work of reform and transformation of our systems.

We have seen the power of collective, focused action. We have seen change. Our responsibility to each other is to keep moving forward.

Portland is counting on its leaders – city, county, state, and federal – to partner and to use the collective power of our offices to create a better future.

Thank you.