Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

Amid nationwide protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality and systemic racism in the United States, many all over the country want to see change.

That includes Chris Young, who created a petition addressed to Portland mayor Ted Wheeler demanding the City of Portland to apologize to former Portland Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson for a racial profiling incident from 1997

"In the summer of 1997 Portland Trail Blazer Clifford Robinson, his brothers, and friends were the subject of blatant racial profiling by Portland (Oregon) police," wrote Young. "Robinson was seen entering his vehicle with paintball guns, the cops were called by someone that reported that Robinson and his party had assault rifles, and a public safety alert was broadcast on local and national media.

"Robinson's vehicle, along with its occupants, was subjected to a paramilitary-style blockade near the Portland waterfront, which was widely publicized. Heavily armed Portland police did not find assault rifles in Robinson's vehicle for obvious reasons (there weren't any), however, they did locate remnants of cannabis in the vehicle. Despite the cannabis being outside of the reach of where Robinson was located in the vehicle (driver seat), Robinson was charged with possession of cannabis, presumably because of his celebrity status."

"The next thing I knew, there were 10 cop cars around us with guns pointing at us in the middle of Front,″ Robinson said shortly after the incident in a press conference. "I didn’t know what’s going on. I was totally scared. This has never happened to me before."

 

"This blatant racial profiling incident has since gone unaddressed," Young added. "That is unacceptable. Please sign this petition to demand that the City of Portland apologize for this incident. A public apology will never fix the past, however, it can at least clear the record and make it widely known that what happened to Robinson and his party in 1997 was shameful. The City of Portland can never fully move forward if it cannot acknowledge the harms that it created in the past. Thank you for signing this petition and sharing it with everyone that you know."

Cliff Robinson's marijuana brand, Uncle Cliffy, tweeted out the petition urging people to leave their signature: "Please sign this petition for a Blazer legend that deserves a long-overdue apology from Portland PD." 

NBCSNW confirmed with Robinson on Sunday the authenticity of the account. 

The cannabis charge against Robinson was widely covered by national media instead at the time.

Robinson was worried the incident would put unwarranted controversy on himself heading into free agency and negatively affect the perception of the Trail Blazers, who were teetering on the Jail Blazers days, over what Robinson viewed as extreme abuse of public resources and blatant racial profiling.

"This perception of our team is that we have a bunch of guys who are shady individuals,″ Robinson said at the press conference in 1997. "I don’t do anything but try my best to represent myself, represent the Trail Blazers and represent Portland on and off the court as best as I can.″

The former Trail Blazer would leave Portland for Phoenix that offseason. 

As of the publishing of this article, the petition has reached 428 signatures. 

You can find the petition here.

More information regarding the racial profiling incident described in this petition can be found here