Over the weekend, several people were killed near illegal street racing “takeovers,” with street racers blocking roads and intersections in Portland.
Murders, shootings, and street racing events thinned police over the weekend, preventing them from taking action against street racing events.
The Portland Police Department (PBB) said the events made it difficult for officers to reach areas where people were being killed.
The shooting on Sunday
Officials released a press release revealing that four people were shot dead during illegal races over the weekend.
Police also reported that three people were shot dead during the Marine Drive street racing event on Sunday night.
At 11 p.m. Sunday, authorities responded to a shooting near NE 1-5 over MLK Boulevard, where hundreds of people were participating in illegal street races.
Authorities say a man was found at the scene, but his injuries were not life-threatening.
Another gunshot victim appeared in the same condition at a Washington hospital, while a third followed after being rushed to the hospital with unknown gunshot wounds.
Read also: Video surveillance shows cops firing after Robert Connelly pulled a gun on them, leading to a hostage situation that ends peacefully
KGW media received videos showing large-scale illegal racing events across Portland on Sunday night.
However, they have yet to find out whether the shooting took place at the event or in the area. According to KGW, the event angered Portland residents.
Many reached out to the media on Sunday evening to share details about what they heard and saw and asked why the police were doing nothing about it.
Most of the complaints indicated that the racing events took place in northeastern Portland.
Several streets were occupied, and the event blocked the six-way intersection of Northeast 72nd Avenue, Sandy Boulevard, and Fremont Street in the Roseway neighborhood.
According to witnesses, hundreds of people and cars lined up for the event.
The cars were lined up five to six cars deep on each side of the intersection, making it difficult for anyone to pass.
People also reported “floating” cars, fireworks, and thick clouds of smoke.
There have also been reports of people sitting and standing on the rooftops of nearby commercial sites.
According to KGW, people contacted them, saying they had called the police, but to no avail.
One person said he was told the police couldn’t do anything about it.
The police response
PBB Lieutenant Nathan Sheppard said officers were unable to participate in road races because they responded to shootings (one of which left a man dead in southeastern Portland) and other “security calls.”
On Monday, police explained why they were unavailable and revealed that officers responded to three murders and seven other shootings over the weekend.
Police also said street racing made it difficult for officers to reach areas where people were being killed.
According to Sheppard, street racing events require a lot of officers due to the large number of participants.
There weren’t enough officers to respond on Sunday.
“Although it is the goal of the Portland Police Bureau to answer calls for service as soon as possible after they are dispatched, street racing incidents are typically large crowd control events requiring a large number of officers,” said Sheppard late Sunday night.
“Officers are currently working through several life/safety calls and there are not enough available to safely address the calls regarding street racing. Officers will respond as they become available and it is safer for them to do so.”
Read also: Portland and DOJ Clash Regarding Police use of Force
Attempts to remove illegal street racing
In April, police said they would take action against illegal road racing after many road acquisitions in recent years.
They released a statement saying they were “planning and gathering resources to conduct regular enforcement missions.”
In August of last year, the Portland City Council voted in favor of a new ordinance that would ban street racing.
Under the terms of the ordinance, offenders can risk imprisonment and towing of their cars with fines of up to $ 500.
Police respond to rampant illegal street racing over the weekend in Portland
Multiple people shot near illegal street-racing takeovers in Portland