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  • 16 Sep 2014

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Ferguson vigils held in Portland

Photo Credit: KOIN 6/ANNIE ELLISON - Peaceful protesters chant, 'Hands Up. Don't Shoot' outside of the Portland Police Bureau's North Precinct.A protest was held in Northeast Portland by people who wanted to show their solidarity with residents of Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday.

Organizer Jesse Sponberg posted on the #OpFerguson Facebook page that the rally at 5229 NE MLK — Vanport Square — was meant to support people across the country who have been victims of police brutality.

The organizers also wanted Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Police Chief Mike Reese to denounce the actions in Ferguson. Hales released a statement earlier in the day.

One of those in the crowd outside of the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct was Joe Bean Keller. His son, Deonte Keller, was just 20 when Joe says an officer shot Deonte in the back during a traffic stop. Joe said his son, who was unarmed at the time, died.

Joe said the shooting in Ferguson has brought his nightmare back to life again.

“I feel the pain. I know what they’re going through when you lose a child. My son was unarmed, too,” said Joe.

A vigil was held earlier Thursday at Pioneer Courthouse Square that included a moment of silence for the slain, unarmed Missouri teen, Mike Brown.

“This is not a protest. This is not a rally. This is a peaceful gathering of friends,” the group’s page read. “This vigil is for Mike Brown, Kendrec McDade, Victor Steen, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Andy Lopez, John Crawford, Aaron Campbell, Keaton Otis, Kendra James, James Jahar Perez and all victims of police brutality.”

Following the gatherings at the Pioneer Courthouse Square and the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct, protesters continued to move through Northeast Portland. The group walked on streets, briefly interrupting traffic at some points on Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard, chanting “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot.” The crowd appeared to disperse just before 9 p.m.

Another protest sponsored by the Oregon Black Museum is scheduled for Saturday. According to organizers, it will take place at Dawson Park in North Portland from 1 to 4 p.m.