After a fatal, police involved shooting in Portland, Ore., on Thursday, protestors gathered in the Rose City, surrounding officers and launching projectiles at them. In response to the gathering angry mob, Portland Police issued a statement noting that the victim was white.
The Portland Police alerted the public that "erroneous information" was being "circulated on social media" about the person who was shot by an officer in the Lloyd district. "We can confirm that the subject involved is an adult white male," the Portland Police wrote. "No one else was injured."
Shortly thereafter, the Police sent another tweet, giving information about the actions of demonstrators at the scene of the shooting. "Some participants have thrown objects and tried to enter the closed area," the wrote.
The police reported that "an officer's baton was grabbed by someone," and that it was when "another officer intervened," that demonstrators sprayed police "with a chemical." Additional officers arrived on the scene to offer assistance as protestors tried to get inside area where the shooting occurred.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell posted a statement to social media about the incident, saying: "We're early in this investigation. Preliminary information suggests our officer encountered a very difficult and dynamic situation that no officer wants to face. I want to thank all our members who responded to the scene as well as those who were out taking emergency calls in the city. I'm thankful and proud of their efforts."
Lovell said that he has "briefed the police commissioner. He and I are in contact and I'm keeping him apprised of the situation. And I want to assure the community that we're committed to a full, thorough, and complete investigation."
In April, Oregon's paper of record, The Oregonian, had a similar sentiment to that of the Portland Police on Thursday. They tweeted, then deleted, a tweet that read, "The man who was killed was a white male in his 30s, according to three sources with knowledge of the investigation. The Oregonian/OregonLive is identifying the man's race in light of social unrest prompted by police shootings of black people."
After social media backlash, they issued a second tweet that read: "We included information in an earlier tweet about why we identified the victim's race that was poorly worded. It was not intended to minimize what happened, only to provide context. We generally do not identify race in news stories but often do when reporting police shootings."
Since the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25, 2020, protests, demonstrations, and riots have erupted after police involved shootings of individuals who are black or Latino. There has not been the same outpouring of sentiment for their white counterparts.