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State of emergency in Portland for Chauvin verdict

FILE PHOTO -- Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency in the city to address potential protests following the verdict at the murder trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

Late Tuesday afternoon a Minneapolis jury found Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

Wheeler said Tuesday State Police and the National Guard are on standby and will be called in if necessary. Under the state of the emergency order, the mayor is allowed to implement a curfew, close streets or buildings. The 24-hour order can be extended, if Wheeler deems it to be necessary.

Wheeler, who said he hoped Chauvin was found guilty on all charges, said large gatherings are expected Tuesday in the city, the site of often violent gatherings following Floyd's death last May.

People marched through the streets of Portland for more than 100 straight days last year, chanting the names of Black people killed by police, carrying signs reading “Defund the Police” and demanding for an end to systemic racism in a city that has become the epicenter of protests against racial injustice.

While protests have continued regularly for nearly a year, tensions have been exacerbated following recent officer-involved shootings. Many protests in the city have been declared unlawful assemblies and riots and have ended with arrests, vandalism and fires.

Wheeler described a group of 100 people, “mostly white” and “self described anarchists” as the source of these crimes.

Over the weekend and on Monday night, multiple businesses and buildings — including the Boys and Girls Club and the Oregon Historical Society — were damaged, with videos and photos of smashed circulating social media. Police reported that $2,000 worth of product stolen from a Nike store and fires were set to an Apple Store, threatening an office building above it.

“Last night, yet again, a group of self-described ‘anarchists’ attacked businesses, a church, and the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland," said Portland's Deputy Police Chief, Chris Davis.

The weekend's vandalism downtown came after a fatal police shooting Friday in Portland. The man shot in a Portland park on Friday morning, was identified as Robert Douglas Delgado.

Portland police say that around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, someone called to say a man, later identified as 46-year-old Delgado, was “quick drawing and holding what looked like a handgun.”

Delgado, who was white, had a replica black pistol, with the tip painted orange, when he was shot and killed by Portland Police Officer Zachary DeLong.

DeLong is on administrative leave pending investigation into the shooting.

Cline is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.