PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Major cleanup is underway in downtown Portland after police say rioters smashed windows and toppled historic statues in the South Park Blocks Sunday night, in what was perhaps the most destructive night since May.
The Oregon Historical Society has extensive damage, and a nearby business owner is working to repair shattered glass after bullets were fired through the front of his restaurant, Heroes American Cafe.
“Whoever’s doing it, whether it’s agitators or whoever it might be, they’re doing a disservice to everyone,” said the restaurant owner, John Jackson.
It began as a gathering called Indigenous Peoples' Day of Rage on the eve of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Organizers asked people to wear black, not to stream, take videos or photos of the occasion.
It became clear, Portland police say, the group was planning to commit crimes while preventing video evidence from holding them accountable.
In a press conference Monday morning, Oregon Rep. Tawna Sanchez, who represents north and northeast Portland, condemned the crime spree.
“We know, in particular as people of color, that violence doesn’t work for us. We know that during the time of Standing Rock, the elders told us that violence was not going to help,” said Sanchez, who for many years has fought for the rights of Indigenous people.
Police say the crowd began their destruction in the South Park Blocks, toppling over the historical Teddy Roosevelt statue with a car.
Minutes later, the Abraham Lincoln statue was also pulled to the ground.
“It seems like there’s no end,” said Scott Musch, who lives nearby and recorded video of the crowd from his balcony. “I felt as I was taking the video…really, kind of, unsafe and scared. Kind of the mob mentality, like, who will they be out for next?”
Just across the street from the statues is the Oregon Historical Society. Police say rioters smashed its windows and threw at least three flares inside attempting to start fires.
“I think what’s really alarming by it is there’s just no predictability to it...They’ll come after the flavor of the day, I guess. There’s no principle behind it,” said Musch.
Then, police say the destructive crowd moved several blocks south where numerous windows were shattered including the Portland State University Campus Public Safety office, Jimmy Johns and Subway.
Just after 9:30 p.m., PPB declared a riot.
Meanwhile, the owner of Heroes American Cafe was learning the front of his business had just been fired into.
“I happened to be sitting [in front of the window] for most of the day working with my son [sitting nearby] and if it would’ve happened - that’s where I sit and do work - I would’ve literally been shot,” said Jackson.
Two bullet holes are left in the back of his restaurant. Jackson says he won’t back down.
He opened the restaurant Monday and plans to take down the plywood as soon as he can.
“We’re not changing what we do because of things that are, to me, kind of terroristic in approach,” he told FOX 12. “We’re just not yielding to any of that.”
Jackson says he received a phone call last week, in which the caller threatened him and his restaurant and told him that something was going to happen.
He tells FOX 12 police were unable to respond to his incident Sunday night. Officers arrived Monday afternoon to investigate.
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