After fires and fence damage outside downtown federal courthouse, Portland police declare unlawful assembly

Protester seen sawing base of fence outside courthouse, KPTV image 

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – For another night, demonstrators went to downtown Portland to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

On Thursday, more than a thousand people gathered outside the Justice Center and Federal Courthouse. For several hours in the evening, police said the crowd demonstrated and blocked traffic.

The Portland NAACP hosted an event in front of the Justice Center to bring focus back to the Black Lives Matter movement called “Portland: Let’s Get Protests Back on Track.”

By 9 p.m., the crowd had grown with the addition of the “Wall of Moms,” a protesting group of mothers who has gained attention for their bright shirts and locked arms.

Around 11 p.m., protesters were seen throwing items over the fence surrounding the courthouse and minutes later federal officers were heard over a speaker telling them to stop.

According to police, fires were set inside the fence at that time and other protesters were seen shaking the fence.

Police said several people breached the fence, prompting federal officers to come out of the courthouse. While officers dispersed the group, police said they were “hit with large projectiles, various incendiaries, and flashed with lasers.”

About an hour and a half later, a group was seen trying to saw the fence from its base in an attempt to bring it down.

Just before 1 a.m. Friday, a FOX 12 crew saw the first incident of tear gas during the demonstration outside the courthouse.

Minutes later, a panel of the fence had been breached, though the FOX 12 crew saw no additional reaction from federal officers.

Police said commercial grade fireworks were launched towards the courthouse and federal officers once again dispersed the crowd.

By 2 a.m., Portland police had declared an unlawful assembly outside the courthouse. Anyone in the area was told to leave and were warned that failure to comply could end in “arrest or citation, or riot control agents, including tear gas and/or impact weapons.”

Police said many people remained in the area and “continued to light fires, and destruct federal courthouse property.”

After a while, protesters dispersed from downtown.

Police said the only time PPB officers were present in the overnight demonstrations was when they used the sound truck.

PPB said its officers didn’t engage with protesters otherwise and did not deploy any tear gas. No arrests in connection with the protest were made by Portland police.

The unlawful assembly declaration came one day after police declared a riot in the same area.

On Friday morning, FOX 12 got an inside look behind the fence that surrounds the courthouse. Umbrellas, water bottles and other trash thrown over the fence by protesters were seen scattered across the ground.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Asphaug, who has worked at the building for 16 years, said he is “heartbroken” to see the state of the exterior of the courthouse.

“This building represents justice for everybody that's here. Every month we have immigrants who come to become citizens here. The lawsuits that are going to be filed by the people out here saying their rights are being violated are going to be heard in this building, and it’s now just a target, and it’s heartbreaking,” Asphaug said.

U.S Attorney Billy Williams gave his take on the protests: “There’s change needed so this is one of those moments in history where it can occur but its being held back by this. This is just mindless violence and it’s been politicized and in my view that’s what enables this to continue because no one in their right mind thinks this is OK.”

“Blaming federal agents for protecting federal property is an easy out for people who want to politicize this,” Williams said. “Portland is losing its soul right now.”

The U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon reported that 18 people were arrested this week by federal officers for criminal activity during protests around the federal courthouse.

The office said court documents state that since May 26, protests in downtown Portland “have been followed by nightly criminal activity including assaults on law enforcement officers, destruction of property, looting, arson, and vandalism.”

The federal courthouse has been a routine target of vandalism during evening protests and riots, and has sustained “extensive damage,” the office said.

“U.S. Marshals Service deputies and officers from the Federal Protective Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection working to protect the courthouse have been subjected to nightly threats and assaults from demonstrators while performing their duties,” the office stated.

The 18 arrests were made between the beginning of Monday’s protest and the conclusion of demonstrating in the early morning hours of Thursday. The office did not report any arrests made between Thursday evening and Friday morning.

The office said that those arrested are all believed to be local residents.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(13) comments

beckym

I simply cannot believe what is now going on in Portland. Why the wall of moms? It's just party and riot time in Portland.

chillypepper

Thanks to the new normal of telecommute work, if Portland continues with this train wreck leadership, they are going to lose their tax base. Who will pay when all the wage earners leave? I am going to sell my inner NE house for tidy sum and move to the Mountains. I know, I know, don't let the door hit me on my way out. But, some may miss the tax money I contributed. When houses go vacant, taxes do not get paid. I know it seems impossible that Portland could become Baltimore of the West, but sure looks like it is headed that way :(

Delta85

Wow another night of lawlessness thank God the Fed police are here otherwise we would have another Seattle on our hand!

mairez

How many of these 'protesters' are property owners? How many of them contribute to the community in any meaningful way?

One good thing has come out of these riots: our governmental leaders have been exposed as frauds who are only interested in themselves and their power. It's time for them to be replaced with Conservatives. Law and Order must be prioritized.

Alexander Marinesko

"Around 11 p.m., "protesters" were seen throwing items over the fence surrounding the courthouse and minutes later federal officers were heard over a speaker telling them to stop." You could call them what they are, "RIOTERS"

Kenny Rogers

It's hilarious to me that the vast majority of these "protesters" are woke white liberals, all fighting for "racial injustice." Perhaps the woke white liberals should put down the toilet paper known as "White Fragility," and focus on doing something constructive with their time. For example; volunteering to help those in need, or donating to a worthy cause, or how about just being productive at some type of job. The "protesters" should be forced to pay some level of restitution for all the damage and destruction they've cause, and I could think of no better way than to have them be forced to clean up all the wreckage and graffiti that now lives downtown. The selfish woke white liberals have done an incredible disservice to local businesses and taxpayers from all backgrounds.

Eduardo Bueno

Amen!

rustynutt

It's obviously how their mothers raised them...

Frederick Fukov

Excuse me, but the only "brutality" and "injustice" is coming from the insurgents who are the enemies of Portland, and the United States of America. They're not even hiding their true goals any longer. They wish to abolish the police, to tear down our current system of government and economy, and to radically change forever, the American way of life. These sub-human life forms lost their ability to think for themselves many years ago, when they were brainwashed in school, at home, and from others who are handing down this indoctrination from generation to generation. Though most of us would agree that a certain form of dissent might have been necessary..like..ya know..back in the 60s..it's certainly not necessary today. Forget the police, federal officers and agents, and the national guard for that matter. Trump would be within his rights to call up the regular military, and to put down this anarchist rebellion. The damage they are doing to this city, and to this country, at a time when we can least afford it, is immeasurable. I wanna see tanks, armored personnel carriers, apache helicopters and troops in mass numbers, and offer something to these low life losers that few of them have ever experienced in their lives. That would be..real consequences. Maybe when a few of 'em are kiIIed, the rest of 'em will finally get the message. Believe me, the ones who are doing this will not be missed by anyone, and the world will be far better off without 'em. Thank You.

Eduardo Bueno

I would love to see some mayors and governors in jail for that matter, and elections called in those states. I would like to to see if the people, knowing that they do not have the support against criminals disguised as protesters, and by default, against plain criminals that at this point, at least in New York and Chicago have a free pass for burglary, rape, murder, looting, arson, and so on... if they would vote to power these kind of people. The police being reduced to a group of people that just file complains or declarations if this is a riot or not, but are not allowed to be police is very dangerous. To the people and to the politicians playing this game.

ORChick

Why must Fox 12 continue to call them protestors? They're nothing but violent, criminal thugs! What is wrong with our mayor and why isn't he stopping this??

pb sir

Re: what's wrong with our Mayor? Well, the words "spineless" and "cowardly" come to mind, as well as a few other descriptors that I can't use here...

Eduardo Bueno

I agree. But they work for the liberal agenda. They cannot help it. I it is pathetic to say the least, the mayor being the top in pathetic behavior, an enemy of the people, a lot of people that voted for him. I hope the people are not stupid and can see criminals for what they are. When these mayors succeed in cancelling the role of the police, Karma will turn against them. I want to see it in the news when it happens.

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