Portland protesters clash, police take hands-off approach, four - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland protesters clash, police take hands-off approach, four into custody

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Image: Brenna Kelly, KPTV Image: Brenna Kelly, KPTV

A violent series of fights erupted Sunday evening as two opposing political groups clashed in downtown Portland and officers largely used a hands-off approach.

Authorities did take four people into custody.

Jonathan D. Feit, 36, and Andrew Arbow, 32, were each charged with second-degree disorderly conduct.

Portland Police said 43-year-old Gergory N. Isaacson was cited and released by the Federal Protective Service for failure to comply with a lawful order.

Officers said federal authorities arrested another person, but the suspect initially refused to provide his identity. On Monday morning, Portland police identified him as 26-year-old Bryan A. Neyman. He was booked at the Multnomah County Jail on four counts of fourth-degree assault (felony level) and one count of third-degree robbery. 

FOX 12 crews witnesses several fights, provoked by both sides of protesters, that left people bloody and bruised.

It also started with two separate rallies near each other in downtown Portland.

One rally against police brutality took place in Chapman Square. Members of Portland’s left-wing Antifa group and Portland Resistance were there. The crowd of roughly 100 swelled to hundreds as they waited for right-wing groups to show up for their own rally and march at Terry Schrunk Plaza across the street.

Patriot Prayer and a group called the Proud Boys showed up around 4:30 p.m. About 50 supporters then went on a march weaving through several blocks of downtown Portland.

Antifa and other opposition protesters followed, as both sides taunted each other and threw punches and various objects.

Traffic was disrupted at some points as the marchers did laps around the blocks and police scrambled to keep up and place themselves between the two groups as a buffer.

One woman, who didn’t want to reveal her identity, was marching with Patriot Prayer when said she was attacked without warning.

“They were kicking me and punching me,” the woman said. “They were punching my mom when she was trying to get me off the ground.”

One person marching with Antifa had visible injuries to his face, but declined an interview.

“It’s unfortunate there’s violence, but we have to keep coming in here because there’s a complete attack on the First Amendment,” said Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson.

Members of Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys said they held the rally to celebrate free speech and as a farewell to another Patriot Prayer leader who is moving to American Samoa.

Patriot Prayer events in Portland often attract massive crowds of counter protesters who believe the group is based on white nationalism and bigotry.

“They still come to our city, and they still get to have their platform, so I come in support of all of the other people here who think that’s not okay,” said Greg Liascos.

Another counter-protester, Peggy Zebroski, is a familiar face in Portland activism. Zebroski was widely photographed after a clash between protesters and police last year left her with a bloody face and the mayor calling for officers to handle protests better.

Sunday, she marched with the group against Patriot Prayer.

FOX 12 asked Zebroski for her opinion on the police tactics on Sunday.

“I think the police were more restrained then they have been,” Zebroski said. “However I saw them arrest several people in the counter-protesters group, but none of the folks that were throwing pepper spray at us.”

It’s unclear which groups those who were arrested and detained belonged to.

Portland Police said officers did not use crowd control tactics like rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades, and pepper spray.

The bureau said a Multnomah Sheriff’s deputy and Federal Protective Services officers used pepper spray in two separate incidents in which people were assaulting one another.

In a statement from the Portland Police Bureau, Chief Danielle Outlaw said, "The intent of our presence today was to provide a safe environment for all participants, non-participants, and community members while ensuring the peaceful exercise of the First Amendment.”

Outlaw also said, "The Police Bureau attempted to communicate directly with group organizers through the use of social media, a loud-hailer, and person-to-person communication in an effort to encourage an environment in which Portland community members could safely practice their right to free speech and assembly. Bureau members attempted to intercede by separating and arresting people on occasions when people's safety was in jeopardy."

Additionally, weapons were confiscated from protesters, but police did not clarify from which group(s) they were taken. 

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