Written by Eric Dodson
People in Portland are protesting police violence against black people. Since Friday, May 29th, thousands of people in Portland and more than 200 other cities in the US and around the world, have come together on the streets. They want police and society to change.
Police use violence on Black people and other people of color in the US more often than white people, according to national statistics from Washington Post. For example, since 2015, police shot and killed 1,262 black men and women, and 887 latino men and women in the US. This rate of violence is higher than for white people.
On May 25, George Floyd, an African-American man, was killed when a police officer choked him during an arrest. Floyd said “I can’t breathe.” The officer choked Floyd for eight minutes. Two other police officers kneeled on Floyd’s back. Another officer stood and watched.This happened in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the Midwest of the US. The video of the violence went on the internet, and many people saw it.
In Portland, thousands of people have come together because they want police and the government to stop this kind of racist discrimination and violence. Many groups have joined the protests, including religious groups, black community groups, other community groups, political groups, and anti-fascists.
In response, police in Portland have used force and violence to control the protests. Police have used military vehicles and armor to show their power. They have hit people with sticks and shields. They have used flash bang grenades on people. They have shot people. They have used tear gas and pepper spray on people.
Some people in the streets have thrown objects at the police, and some have smashed windows and started fires. However, most of the protesters are not violent, and most people do not want the protests to fight the police or destroy property. Many people have stopped violence because it is not the right way.
What do they want? Change.
One business owner in Minneapolis said that he was sad that his business was burned, but human life and justice were more important.
Often, police who kill or hurt people can continue working as police, and do not have criminal charges. In Minneapolis, the officer who choked George Floyd was charged with murder on May 29th .
George Floyd’s brother, Philonise, gave these comments in an interview with CNN:
“They’re tired of seeing black men die constantly. I see why people are doing it. I don’t want them to lash out, but they have pain, “Philonise Floyd said during the interview.” I want everything to be peaceful, but I can’t make everybody be peaceful.
“To the police, I want them to get everything right. Start doing your job the right way … I haven’t been seeing it. Black lives matter, too.”
Lexile level: 800-900