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Protestors Call for Action Against Armed Campus Safety Officers Who Killed Navy Veteran

Students, staff and the Portland community come together to protest the death of a Navy veteran.

Kelly Granger

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The streets of Portland, Oregon were filled with dozens of protestors on Sunday, demanding for action to be taken against the campus safety police officers that shot and killed a Navy veteran.

In 2015, Portland State University started a policy for all campus safety officers to carry guns. Since the policy began, students and staff have opposed of the policy, some saying that they “knew then that somebody would die, and here we are. I had to be here because we knew it would happen – we just didn’t know when.”

A bystander captured cellphone video of the incident that happened early Friday. Jason Washington, a U.S. Navy veteran who also worked for the U.S. postal service, stepped into a fight to help try and break it up outside of a sports bar. Washington had a concealed carry permit for the handgun that dropped out of it’s holster when he fell while trying to break up the fight. When Washington went to reach down to pick up the hand gun that fell, the officers began shooting at him, taking his life. Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey are the two officers involved in the shooting and have since been placed on administrative leave.

Mohammed Tuffa, a man involved in the fight, said that there was no reason for the officers to use deadly force. “Pepper spray could have broken everybody out. Everybody would have been on the ground crying.” Tuff said. A full evaluation has been promised by the Portland Police Department that is investigating the campus’ policies and procedures amidst this incident.

Students have been strongly opposed of the policy to arm the campus officers since it began in 2015. Faculty, staff and community members have also spoken out against the policy with concern, emphasizing that it is unnecessary for them to be armed.

Over 100 protestors marched on Sunday and are demanding justice for Washington. The protestors wore black and marched from the streets of Portland to PSU.

This is the first officer involved shooting on PSU’s campus since the officers started carrying guns.

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My name is Kelly Granger and I am a rising senior at N.C. State University majoring in Communication Media. My freshman year I attended the University of Alabama and transferred to State at the beginning of my sophomore year. I am from Charlotte and absolutely love the Carolinas. I love to run. I have run a half marathon and plan to train for a marathon in the coming years.

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