PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A confrontation between federal police officers and protesters left a man badly injured in the hospital and sparking outrage from federal, state and local lawmakers.
Donavan Labella,26, was seriously hurt and may have brain injuries after a federal officer shot him in the head with an impact munition on Saturday, his mother said.
Labella's mother says it happened at a protest in Portland, and video appears to show the moment it happened.
Twitter video from Saturday night near the Federal Courthouse shows Labella holding what looks like a speaker over his head when an officer throws a canister that lands near his feet.
The he kicks it, before picking it up and throwing it back towards officers.
When Labella lifts up the speaker again, the sound of a shot is heard, and then the man suddenly drops to the ground.
People nearby said a federal officer shot him with an “impact munition.”
Labella's mother told FOX 12 on Sunday that her son was shot in the forehead and some of his optical bones are now shattered. He may also possibly have brain injuries.
She says a titanium plate has been put in his forehead, but he should survive. She’s blaming federal officers.
On Sunday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown responded to the video, saying in a statement, “The events of last night at the federal courthouse were the tragic and avoidable result of President Donald Trump, for weeks, continuing to push for force and violence in response to protests. The cycle of violence must end. President Trump deploying armed federal officers to Portland only serves to escalate tensions and, as we saw yesterday, will inevitably lead to unnecessary violence and confrontation."
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden also commented, saying, “The consequences of Donald Trump unilaterally dispatching fed’l law enforcement into U.S. Cities played out in Portland w/a peaceful protester shot in the head. Trump & Homeland Security must now answer why fed’l officers are acting like an occupying army.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley wrote on Twitter, “Given Trump’s misuse of force against protesters outside the White House and elsewhere, the deployment of federal agents in Portland raises serious concerns. We need answers.”
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty also released a statement, which read:
Last week it was disconcerting to see militarized federal officers with war weapons embedded with the Portland Police Bureau and stationed around Portland. Since then their presence brought on an escalation of violence towards protesters – an extreme response to a movement challenging police violence. This reckless and aggressive behavior has now put someone in the hospital. This protester is still fighting for their life and I want to be clear: this should never have happened. If this continues a life will be taken and it won’t matter whether a federal officer or Portland Police officer did it – it won’t bring that person back.
While I absolutely condemn the federal troops’ presence in Portland and demand that they withdraw, I am not naïve enough to think that their withdrawal alone will solve the issue. Even prior to the federal troops entering Portland, reports and videos of police violently responding to protesters came out nightly. Watching things reach a boiling point, I sent an open letter to Chief Lovell asking him to de-escalate the events unfolding and to publicly explain his and the bureau’s response to the nightly protests.
While we need to continue to challenge systems of white supremacy, including the ‘ok’ symbol found in the window of the Hatfield Courthouse, we also need to examine and tackle our own responsibility and complacency in these systems. It is our police force that has been responding violently to protesters before the federal troops entered the stage. If Portland will not lead in de-escalating the situation then the federal troops will take lead, and we have already seen how dangerous that will be for Portlanders exercising their first amendment rights.
We have had more than enough. The federal troops need to withdraw immediately, and after that we have the hard task of picking up the pieces and responding to what the public and this movement asks of us.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released a press release which said:
A person was seriously injured in Portland last night. This should not have happened. I spoke with US Attorney Bill Williams about the injuries and learned that the U.S. Marshals Service will be conducting a full investigation. I am calling on the federal government to be thorough and transparent with their findings. I’m concerned that the actions of federal officers last night escalated, rather than de-escalated, already heightened tensions in our city.
We are now more than a month and a half into witnessing nightly violence on our streets. Portland continues to be used as a staging ground for violence night after night. This is causing unprecedented harm to our communities, livelihoods, and Portlanders continue to fear for their safety. My main concern is this: that the continuing violence will lead to further injuries or even deaths. Nobody in Portland wants to see that happen. That is why I put into place restrictions on the Portland Police Bureau, limiting the use of CS gas and LRAD to only life safety situations. Portland Police Chief Lovell knows my direction and expectation of the bureau: to end the nightly violence as quickly and safely as possible. I am calling on the federal government to adhere to the same directives as our Portland Police Bureau when it comes to crowd control munitions.
I am also calling on our city, county and federal partners as well as our entire community to join me in our call to move our city forward in peace so that we can begin the necessary work of rebuilding, reforming, protecting our community from a global pandemic, and dismantling systemic racism. We must end this nightly violence in Portland. Lives are at stake.
Portland police say on Saturday night, protesters started to gather near the federal courthouse at about 8:30 p.m.
Over the next five hours, federal officers used CS gas and other crowd deterrents to break up the demonstrations and made arrests.
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.