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Portland State University Finally Disarms Campus Police

Bowing to community pressure, Portland State University police have finally been disarmed.

It has been two years since Jason Washington, a 45-year old Black man was shot and killed by Portland State campus police officers. Due to the tragic circumstances of Mr Washington’s death, PSU students have since combatted the use of patrol officers’ access to carry firearms on campus.

Body cam footage of Jason Washington’s death shows that Washington attempted to break up a drunken brawl outside the Cheerful Tortoise bar on June 29, 2018. However, once Portland State officers arrived on the scene, Washington was fatally shot while walking away from the scuttle. Despite there being enough information to identify him even upon his departure, Washington’s life was taken through police brutality, thus strongly pushing forth the movement to disarm PSU’s police.

The desperation to remove firearms from Portland States’ campus has been an ongoing battle. In 2014, a decision was made that allowed PSU officers to carry weapons on school grounds as a means to protect themselves or potentially others in danger. However, PSU officers’ rights to carry have done more damage than good, according to those in support of the movement.

Aside from PSU students rallying against Portland State officers’ right to carry on campus, they are also strongly fighting for funding police alternatives, as well as creating an official memorial dedicated to Washington on campus.

Fortunately, instead of being combatted with negativity, Portland State officials released a statement supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. It was also stated that they respect the rights of the PSU community to advocate for change on campus. Plans to revamp campus safety amongst both students and officers are in the making.

The Black Lives Matter movement has fueled a lot of passion to make positive changes to those who have been most affected by racism, police brutality and unfairness in all forms within the U.S. system. Due to the power of this movement, events caused by such unfairness have opened the eyes of many and have provided outlets for those to make a difference.

Notice of there not being enough racial equality on campus, despite Portland State being upheld as one of the most diverse campuses in Oregon, has also raised a few questions.

It should surprise no one that students and Portland citizens alike are fighting for systemic change to redress systemic oppression of Black people. The disarmament of Portland State’s officers is just the beginning of desperately needed changes to take place within the PSU community.

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