A member of the Portland, Oregon Police Bureau is now speaking out about what he’s seeing on the front lines of some of the nation’s worst rioting and insurrection and offering his unique insight as a black officer.
In Officer Jakhary Jackson’s experience, it’s not Black Americans working toward a better future he is seeing in Black Lives Matter protests. Instead, he contended at a press briefing earlier this month, the movement is riddled with young, privileged white saviors barging into communities they know nothing about, inciting chaos, and telling black people what to do.
“I wanted to make the most out of my life … just hearing that call come out over the radio and you know people are in trouble and need help,” Jackson said of his decision to begin a career in policing. “You could change people’s lives … just by giving somebody a hug that is having the worst day of their life.”
KGW8 hearkened back to 2018, when Jackson made positive headlines in after a photo of him sharing time with a sick and homeless veteran went viral.
PPB Officer Jakhary Jackson hangin’ out with Kyle, a homeless vet, at NE Killingsworth x Lombard. Looks like a perfect example of community policing.. pic.twitter.com/O9ChaonXxm
— Ken McCormick (@kgwken) May 24, 2018
Now, ten years into his career with the PPB, Jackson is part of the rapid response team, which has responded to daily protests in Portland.
“I’ve seen folks that really want change like the rest of us that have been impacted by racism,” Jackson said during the briefing. “Then I got to see those people get faded out by people who have no idea what racism is all about, that don’t even know the tactics they’re using are the same tactics that were used against my people.”
“As someone who graduated from PSU with a history degree, it’s frightening,” he went on, noting that angry white protesters have a major hand in ramping up tension between police and protesters. “A lot of times, someone of color—Black, Hispanic, Asian—will come up to the fence, and want to talk directly to me: ‘What do you think about George Floyd? What do you think about what happened with the police?’ [Then] Someone white comes up and ‘Eff the police, don’t talk to him!'”
“That was the most bizarre thing,” Jackson said of the incident. “Honestly, every time I try to have a conversation with someone that looks like me, someone white comes up and blocks them and tells them not to talk.” Jackson added that right as he was explaining this to a young black woman, “this white girl pops right in front of her” and told her not to speak to him.
“He just said that was gonna happen!” the black woman said, stunned that Jackson’s prediction came true. She looked at the white girl and said, “Why did you do you that?”
Jackson continues, explaining how he then began speaking to the white woman who interrupted: “Then I said, straight up, ‘I’ve been called the N-word. She’s been called the N-word. Why are you talking to me this way? Why do you feel she can’t speak for herself? Why do you feel you need to speak for her when we’re having a conversation?'”
“She couldn’t answer my question,” Jackson told KGW8. “All she said was, ‘Someone told me to do it.'”
“Having people that to tell you what to do with your life, that you need to quit your job, that you’re hurting your community, and they’re not even part of the community,” Jackson continued. “You’re a privileged white person telling a person of color what to do with their life.”
Jackson clarified that he is “cool” with citizens working to achieve social change. How he has personally witnessed Black Lives Matter events unfold, however, “has been very strange to watch” because of the immense irony of so-called “anti-racist” white protesters telling black people what is best for them and, worst of all, destroying black neighborhoods in the process.
“They don’t even know what they’re doing,” Jackson said of interloping white protesters. “So that to me was very angering.”
“The community is not happy with it,” he says. “They asked for the violence to stop.” Jackson recalled the experience of his cousin who had attended a Black Lives Matter protest but quickly left, grieved by the violence incited by white out-of-towners. “This has turned into something else,” he said. “This is weird.”
Jackson told another story of a pair of young brothers he met while they were cleaning up the street after the protesters had finally left. Jackson and a few other PPB offers stopped to speak with them and shake hands.
“You know,” the young men said, according to Jackson, “We’re from here. This is our city. I don’t understand why people are coming here and destroying it. We want to clean it up.”
Watch Jackson’s entire, compelling statement in the video below:
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