PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Police said several people were arrested overnight after protesters committed crimes in northeast Portland that revolved around the bureau's North Precinct.
Just before 3:30 a.m. Friday, the Portland Police Bureau tweeted that protesters had lit fires at the PPB North Precinct, located at 449 Northeast Emerson Street, as well as surrounding structures.
Police said multiple businesses in the area had been vandalized and looted.
About half an hour later, police said that protesters had dispersed, and officers were assessing damage. According to police, there were “non life-threatening injuries related to this incident.”
The public was asked to avoid the area from Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Northeast Ainsworth to Northeast Alberta.
Police said the criminal activity happened after one main demonstration in the city Thursday evening into early Friday morning.
Early in the evening, a large group of protesters gathered at Fernhill Park and eventually marched towards the North Precinct, according to PPB.
Around 10 p.m., hundreds of demonstrators came together outside the precinct. Police said some in the crowd arrived with supplies to build a fence and began to build one along from the south side of precinct to the north side of the Boys and Girls Club.
While the fence was being constructed, police said northbound traffic was blocked at MLK Boulevard. Police reported that some projectiles, including glass bottles, were thrown at officers.
An hour after the demonstrators first gathered, some in the crowd began moving dumpsters and other large barriers around the precinct. Police said there was an attempt by some demonstrators to breach the precinct building by ramming dumpsters intro large garage doors on the building's west side.
After the breach attempt was unsuccessful, police said the demonstrators redirected their attention to barricading exit doors so officers inside the building, as well as people in custody, could not get out.
By midnight, police said a demonstrator in the crowd outside the precinct began yelling over a bullhorn that they were "going to burn the building down." Several demonstrators in the crowd were seen wearing masks and yielding shields. Police said fireworks were thrown at officers over the barricade that had been built.
An hour later, police said several hundred demonstrators were still gathered outside the precinct. According to police, officers were concerned about life safety issues, so a PPB sound truck announced that an unlawful assembly had been declared and instructed the crowd to leave the area immediately or be subject to use of force or arrest.
At approximately 1:21 a.m., officers began dispersing the crowd. Police said during that time, demonstrators fought with officers, which included shooting officers with paintball rounds. The paintball rounds made it so officers couldn’t see out of their face shields. Around 1:40 a.m., police said a mortar was launched on to the roof of the precinct. During this time, officers deployed crowd control munitions.
By 2:14 a.m., police said demonstrators had set the north side of the precinct on fire.
Police then used tear gas on the crowd. PPB said officers used the gas to disperse the crowd was to “protect the life and safety of police personnel and community members inside the precinct.” In response, several demonstrators picked up the canisters of CS gas and threw it at officers, according to police.
Just before 3 a.m., demonstrators began looting and setting fire to businesses in the area, police said. Several business windows were broken and fires were set to property.
During engagement with protesters, PPB said “numerous officers sustained minor injuries” and one officer was taken to the hospital for a more serious injury. Police did not elaborate on that officer’s injury.
Police did not say if any demonstrators were hurt.
The injured officers are expected to fully recover.
There have been ongoing protests for racial justice and police reform in Portland for four weeks following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, on May 25 in Minneapolis.
Police said they made four arrests over the course of Thursday evening and early Friday morning, which included assaults or attempted assaults on officers. Those people arrested were as follow:
- Joshua Shane Morris, 33-year-old, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Resist Arrest
- Charles Randolph Comfort, 23-year-old, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Riot, Resist Arrest, Disorderly Conduct II, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer
- Olive Baldwin, 22-year-old, Interfering with a Peace Office, Resist Arrest, Riot
- Tudela Jackson, 24-year-old, Riot, Disorderly Conduct II, Resist Arrest, Interfering with a Peace Officer
In PPB's news release on the activity with protesters, the bureau said "the dynamics of the demonstrators during this incident were more aggressive and violent than those seen in past weeks."
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