OAKLAND, Calif. — Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard questioned the damage and violence taking place in Portland, Oregon, during anti-Donald Trump protests, saying it isn’t the proper way to go about implementing change.
“I think it’s very unfortunate that people have done some of the things they have done during the protest. A lot of harm and damage has been done,” Lillard told ESPN on Saturday. “I do understand their frustration, and I commend people wanting to come together for some kind of change. Tearing apart your own city just isn’t the place to begin, and also making your own city less of a safe place isn’t the answer.”
Since Tuesday, thousands of protesters have congregated in outrage over billionaire businessman Trump being elected the 45th president of the United States. Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, California, are some of the other major cities actively protesting.
Marches across the country have overwhelmingly been peaceful, but Portland has received the nation’s attention for cases of vandalism and assault. Buildings have been vandalized and car windows smashed in. Some individuals have thrown objects at police officers who were trying to maintain order.
Police were forced to use flash bangs and tear gas Friday to disperse the protesters after informing them that their assembly was ruled unlawful and they were subject to arrest.
Early Saturday morning, one male protester was shot on the Morrison Bridge. His injuries aren’t considered to be life-threatening, and the gunman has not been apprehended.
“For someone to be shot on the bridge lets you know it has gone too far,” Lillard said. “That could have been a kid out there or any person catching a stray bullet.”
Lillard has embraced Portland ever since being selected No. 6 by the organization in the 2012 NBA draft. He proudly represents the culture, history and fabric of the city. His hometown is in Oakland, but he considers Portland to be his adopted community.
He said “his city” is better than this and pleads for those causing chaos to choose a peaceful alternative.
“Portland has been a great place since I’ve been here and long before, but this type of activity doesn’t even seem to fit the description of Portland,” Lillard said. “Especially when the majority of the people here voted for Hillary. So if this is an anti-Trump rally, then you’re probably harming the people that you side with in most cases. So again I share the same worry, but I don’t think this is the solution.”