About 100 black-clad protesters gathered in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown Portland on Friday night, decrying a grand jury’s Sept. 24 decision not to indict Portland Police Officer Zachary DeLong in the fatal shooting of Robert Delgado in Lents Park.
In a scene reminiscent of the monthslong George Floyd protests of 2020, police abolition activists occupied the streets of downtown Portland. While the protest was smaller in scale than most of last year’s events, it marked the first time in several months that leftist protesters took to Portland streets.
Among them: family members of Delgado, whom DeLong shot in April after responding to a report of a man “quick drawing” a handgun. (The weapon turned out to be a replica.)
“Robert fought his demons, he was scared, he couldn’t trust anybody,” Tina Delgado told the black bloc crowd gathered around her. “Cops showed up. They didn’t even ask him if he was armed!”
Tina was the sister of Robert Delgado. Family members set up candles on the steps of the Justice Center, while leading the crowd in chants.
“Who are we here for?” Tina yelled.
“Robert Delgado!” The crowd replied.
Crowds tore down segments of the fence around Lownsdale Square and erected barricades at the intersection of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Main Street, where members of the crowd set a bonfire in the middle of the street.
At around 9 pm, the crowd moved to the east side of the Justice Center, where chants against the Portland police continued. All the while, spray paint-wielding teams of black bloc protesters graffitied the building with anti-police slogans, using umbrellas to shield their faces from view. People threw eggs and bottles of water at the building.
Riot police briefly appeared at the entrance of the building’s northeast parking lot behind roll-up security gates but did not exit the building or physically engage with the crowd.
Demonstrators then marched to City Hall, where the graffiti continued. People tore down the American flag from the City Hall flagpole and burned it on the front door of the building. Smaller bonfires were set on Southwest 4th Avenue facing City Hall, where newspaper boxes were used as barricades in the middle of the street.
By 11 pm, most of the crowd had dispersed on own. Portland police did not make any visible attempt to stop the small crowd.