Damian Lillard: Unnecessary for Federal Troops to Be Removing People from Street

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2020

EDS NOTE OBSCENE LANGUAGE Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard, center, joins other demonstrators in Portland, Ore., during a protest against police brutality and racism, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after being restrained by police in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is concerned with how federal agents are treating protestors in his team's hometown.

"I don't understand why federal troops need to be on the ground and physically removing people from the streets," he said. "I feel like it's unnecessary, and it's definitely a scary situation."

He continued, saying, "It definitely hurt to see people peacefully protesting something—and they're not in the wrong for protesting—and to be manhandled and to be physically taken off the streets and treated the way I saw in these video clips, it was disturbing."

His comments come after he reacted to the situation on Twitter:

In June, Lillard joined protests in Portland following the killing of George Floyd:

Jayati Ramakrishnan of The Oregonian noted the point guard has never hesitated to speak out about systemic racism and police brutality, wearing a shirt that said "I Can't Breathe" in 2014 following the death of Eric Garner—a Black man killed by police in New York—and using his social media presence to raise awareness for a number of issues.

As for the current situation in Portland, Josh Campbell of CNN provided background and noted the Trump administration dispatched federal agents to, it said, protect federal monuments from damage.

However, those federal agents have used tear gas and crowd dispersant projectiles to clear areas and have done "so in a massive show of force."

What's more, "protesters here on the ground in Portland tell CNN the President and his team are broad brushing an entire movement—overwhelmingly peaceful, despite some periods of violence—for purely political reasons."