Riot declared in Portland after protesters cause damage following police shootings
Mayor Ted Wheeler decried the violence but supported calls for greater police accountability
Portland police again declared a riot Friday night after protesters smashed windows of downtown businesses and lit fires during a demonstration.
The mayhem marked the third night in five days that police have declared a riot in the city in the wake of police shootings nationwide, including those claiming the lives of Adam Toledo, 13, in Chicago and Daunte Wright, 20, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Protests started after Wright’s death Sunday during a traffic stop.
Police also shot a man in Lents Park in southeast Portland on Friday morning. The victim, a white man in his 30s who has not been identified, died at the scene.
Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis told reporters that officers used a gun and weapons that fire "non-lethal projectiles."
Davis did not know if the man had pointed a weapon at officers, but a witness told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the man had removed his shirt and was blocking an intersection during a possible mental health crisis.
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An investigation into the shooting was hampered by protesters who chanted and yelled at officers. A crowd of more than 150 people gathered within a couple hours of the incident.
Police wrapped their investigation by 3 p.m., but the protest continued, moving to a nearby intersection to block traffic.
Police used pepper spray to try to disperse the crowd, then fired smoke canisters and rubber balls, officers said.
Earlier in the week, demonstrators set off fireworks in front of the Portland Police Association Building and lit a fire behind the building. Police claimed that "accelerants on a door" helped to ignite the fire.
Mayor Ted Wheeler supported the calls for police accountability even as he decried a "segment of violent agitators."
Wheeler issued a statement urging residents to "proceed with empathy and peace" while the investigation unfolds.
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"These shootings always are traumatic for everyone involved and for our community, regardless of the circumstances," Wheeler said. "I want to offer my sympathy to the individual involved and to their family. My thoughts also are with the officers who were involved."
The area where the shooting happened is within the boundaries of operation for a new city pilot project called Portland Street Response in which a team without police officers responds to reports of homelessness or people in mental health crisis.
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The pilot project team was not called out Friday and would not respond to a call involving reports of a person with a gun, Davis said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.