PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Police declared a riot Wednesday night after Black Lives Matter demonstrators took to the streets in downtown Portland and tensions escalated, with at least three Molotov cocktails thrown at officers.
People gathered in downtown hours after a grand jury indicted one officer and cleared two others in case of the deadly shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Taylor, a Black woman, was shot and killed by police six months ago at her home in Louisville, Kentucky during a late night raid as part of a drug investigation involving Taylor's ex-boyfriend.
Prosecutors said their investigation showed the three officers serving the warrant announced themselves before entering, and that it was a "no knock" warrant, as previously thought. None of the three officers involved were charged in Taylor's death. Instead, the indicted officer faces charges for "wanton endangerment" for firing shots into neighboring homes.
In Portland on Wednesday night, hundreds of people gathered at Chapman Square Park, located in the 1100 block of Southwest 3rd Avenue, to listen to speakers and attend a Justice for Breonna Taylor event.
The Portland Police Bureau said the group spilled in to the street, blocking vehicular traffic on Southwest 3rd Avenue for several hours. During this time, the group of nearly 300 people stood outside the Justice Center on Southwest 3rd Avenue.
Around 9:45 p.m., about 75 people began gathering on the Central Precinct side of the Justice Center, located in the 1100 block of Southwest 2nd Avenue. The group stood in the street and blocked traffic.
Police reported some members of the group threw softball-sized rocks at the precinct, which shattered the glass windows above the entry doors. The rock throwing continued, making it difficult for officers to exit the precinct, police said.
Some in the crowd proceeded to use slingshots to launch projectiles through the broken glass windows of the building. Meanwhile, others attempted to break into the front doors of the precinct's lobby, according to police.
An unlawful assembly was declared just before 10 p.m. and the crowd was told to leave over PPB loudspeaker. During crowd dispersal, PPB said commercial grade fireworks and glass bottles were thrown at officers.
About 20 minutes later, the north side of the Justice Center was lit on fire and police declared a riot.
Once again, people were told to leave the area as officers in riot gear filled the streets.
To those who have gathered outside of Central Precinct on Southwest 2nd Avenue. This gathering has been declared a riot.— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) September 24, 2020
Police said group members continued to block traffic in the streets and throw full soup cans towards officers. Green lasers were shined at officers in the PPB sound truck.
There’s a line of police here outside the front of the Justice Center. Again this is a riot. We’ve also seen what looked to be a few groups of federal officers pic.twitter.com/iTx4rujMkG— Audrey Weil (@audreytweil) September 24, 2020
As officers began to disperse the crowd again, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at officers, hitting one officer's foot. PPB said a Portland Fire medic was nearby and was able to extinguish the flames.
PBB reported that a second Molotov cocktail was thrown towards officers near Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street, and a third Molotov cocktail was thrown at officers near Southwest Broadway and Southwest Main Street.
As crowd dispersal continued, those who remained aggressively threw rocks and other items at officers, police said.
The following was then announced by officers over loudspeaker: "Because of serious life safety issues caused by the Molotov cocktails, the area of Southwest Naito Parkway to Southwest Broadway Street was closed from Southwest Columbia Street to Southwest Harvey Milk Street."
Police said despite the announcement, the crowd stayed in the area and eventually headed back to the Justice Center.
As the group approached the Justice Center, a larger closure area was enacted to include Southwest Naito Parkway to Southwest 14th Avenue and police announced this to the group over loudspeaker
Another crowd dispersal ensued and PPB said officers were hit with projectiles such as rocks and paint.
Shortly after midnight Thursday, a group of about 75 people returned to Chapman Square Park, police said. The group then gathered at Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest Madison Street before dispersing around 1:30 a.m.
During the events downtown, PPB said officers used some crowd control munitions and three officers suffered minor injuries during crowd dispersals.
The last time police declared a riot in Portland was Saturday, Sept. 5 -- the 100th day of protests in the city.
In Louisville on Wednesday, two officers were shot as protesters spilled into the streets. Interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said a suspect was in custody but did not offer details about whether that person was participating in the demonstrations. He said both officers are expected to recover, and one is undergoing surgery.
Late Thursday morning, PPB reported that 13 people were arrested:
- Colleen E. McDonald, 27, from Portland, who was arrested for resisting arrest, harassment, interfering with a police officer, and second-degree disorderly conduct.
- Joseph Robert Sipe, 23, from Portland, who was arrested for attempted murder, attempted first-degree assault, first-degree arson, and possession of a destructive device.
- Brandon Paape, 31, from Portland, who was arrested for resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer, and second-degree disorderly conduct.
- Hanna Lilly, 21, from Portland, who was arrested for riot.
- Cyan Waters Bass, 21, from Portland, who was arrested for attempted first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree arson, possession of a destructive device, and first-degree criminal mischief.
- Ryan Rasmussen, 47, from Portland, who was arrested for riot, resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer, and second-degree disorderly conduct.
- Benjamin William Kopsa, 24, from Portland, who was arrested for riot, interfering with a police officer, and second-degree disorderly conduct.
- Conor A. Finnegan, 28, from Portland, who was arrested for riot, interfering with a police officer, and second-degree disorderly conduct.
- Venancio Bautista-DeJesus, 25, from Gresham, who was arrested for interfering with a police officer, and second-degree disorderly conduct.
- Juan Bautista, 27, from Portland, who was arrested for riot, resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer, and second-degree disorderly conduct.
- Aimee A. Zink, 28, from Portland, who was arrested for interfering with a police officer.
- Anthony P. Herrington, 28, from Portland, who was arrested for riot, interfering with a police officer, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, and second-degree disorderly conduct.
- Calvin Jerome Jackson, 19, from Portland, who was arrested for first-degree criminal mischief.
"I am glad we were able to make arrests and hold people accountable for the reprehensible acts of violence," PPB Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement.
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