The march on Saturday night was partly led by Letha Winston, whose son Patrick Kimmons was fatally shot in 2018 by police officers in Portland who were responding to an altercation. A grand jury determined that deadly force was justified. Ms. Winston has held sometimes weekly marches to protest for racial justice.
Information on social media indicated the protest on Saturday was in response to the death of Amir Locke, 22, who was fatally shot by the police in Minneapolis when they were carrying out a search warrant early on Feb. 2. The killing of Mr. Locke, who was Black, stirred anger in Portland.
Mr. Locke was not the target of the police raid, which was carried out with a so-called no-knock warrant that does not require notifying residents. Minneapolis has since suspended the use of such warrants.
In an image that promoted the protest on social media, organizers sought “Justice for Amir Locke” and “Justice for Patrick Kimmons,” in addition to others involved in cases of police killings.
In Portland, demonstrations over racial justice have sometimes spiraled into violence between protesters and counterprotesters, but initial reports did not indicate that counterprotesters were present on Saturday night.
While the police in Portland have been criticized for overreacting to the demonstrations — the police have acknowledged using force more than 6,000 times during protests in 2020, prompting a reprimand from the Department of Justice — the constant clashes, especially the ones that have devolved into vandalism, have exasperated many Portland residents, including the mayor.
Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, a nonprofit focused on countering white nationalism, issued a statement denouncing the violence on Saturday night.
Political violence, regardless of where it originates, only undermines social movements that seek a more inclusive society, he said in the statement. “Whether it’s police brutality, paramilitaries, vigilantes or misguided actions in support of police reform, there’s simply no more room for political violence in the Portland we’re working to build,” he said.
Giulia Heyward contributed reporting.