Police use force to keep opposing protests apart

Portland Protests_1533434493970

Portland police keep Patriot Prayer affiliates separate from antifa protesters during a rally in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018.Small scuffles broke out Saturday as police in Portland, Oregon, deployed “flash bang” devices and other means to disperse hundreds of right-wing and self-described anti-fascist protesters.(AP Photo/John Rudoff)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Crowds and political ideologies clashed Saturday when hundreds of protesters faced off in downtown Portland.

A giant crowd of people from several opposing political groups, including right-wing Patriot Prayer and antifa, faced off once again in a protest that started at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

The two groups came face-to-face on either side of Southwest Naito Parkway, where hundreds of police officers from Portland and Oregon State Police tried to keep them separated.

When protesters refused police orders to get out of the street, officers used less-lethal crowd control devices including rubber bullets, pepper spray and flash bangs to disperse people. 

Police said protesters were throwing rocks and bottles and several people were treated for injuries during tense moments. Oregonian reporter Eder Campuzano was hit in the head with a water bottle, but later tweeted that he would be OK. 

Police confiscated weapons throughout the day, including a firework mortar, sticks, baseball bats, pepper spray and shields. Despite reports that Patriot Prayer members would be armed, police confirmed no guns were confiscated. 

Police called the demonstration a “civil disturbance” but not a riot. Unlike the June 30 protest, which police did call a riot, the opposing groups did not truly come together to the point of physical fighting. 

A smaller group of antifa lingered downtown until the remaining Patriot Prayer members got on buses back to Vancouver. There was some yelling back and forth, but no major outbursts like those on June 30. 

Four people were arrested Saturday:

  • Robert J. Majure, 27, for harassment and resisting arrest
  • Tracy L.  Molina, 45, for 2nd-degree disorderly conduct and attempted assault on a public safety officer
  • Tristan Rominemann, 28, for interfering with a police officer, 2nd-degree disorderly conduct and harassment
  • Joseph Evans, 34, for recklessly endangering another person and unlawful use of a weapon

Police also said they’ll be reviewing video of the events and ask anyone with information about other crimes to report them to crimetips@portlandoregon.gov

One person was taken to the hospital by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. Police know other people were injured and encourage them to call the non emergency line 503.823.3333 if they were the victim of a crime.

“The Portland Police Bureau is, and will always be, committed to providing a safe environment for all individuals to exercise their First Amendments rights in a peaceful manner,” said Chief Danielle Outlaw in a press release. “Unfortunately, today, some people chose to commit illegal acts of violence, which required members of the Police Bureau to take action in order to keep all participants and non-participants safe. This was a dangerous situation for all those involved, including officers, and I am disheartened that this kind of illegal behavior occurred in our beautiful city.” 

Warning: Graphic Language

Watch: Patriot Prayer – Antifa protest in Portland, August 4, 2018

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson talks with PPB Sgt Kevin Allen at a protest with Antifa, August 4, 2018 (KOIN)

The demonstrations started late Saturday with a sanctioned rally by PopMob at Portland City Hall began. Patriot Prayer members and Proud Boys arrived by bus from Vancouver for their rally. 

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson started his rally by encouraging supporters to march through the streets and be ready to defend themselves, “if the this mayor (Ted Wheeler) refuses to defend your constitutional rights.” 

Patriot Prayer member Tusitala “Tiny” Toese told KOIN 6 News they come to Portland to send a message.

“Send a message to Portland that we are not standing down, we stand for freedom,” he said. “Like they can send their violent leftists to come out and attack us, we are still gonna come out. If we don’t fix the problem here in Portland, it’s going to spread and go over to Vancouver. That’s the reason we’re here.”

Gibson said it’s no surprise that the antifa crowd outnumbered his group by hundreds.

“They always do… because it’s Portland,” Gibson said. “It’s easy to be on that side. It’s hard to be on this side. That side’s accepted. This side isn’t, they aren’t tolerant of us.” 

By 11:30 a.m., Portland police began using loudspeakers to direct protesters off the street and remind them they are only allowed to be on the sidewalk. 

Protesters changed “Whose streets? Our streets!” and police closed Southwest Naito Parkway temporarily when they refused to get off the road. 

The antifa group was close by but separated by police in riot gear. 

Soon, chants began: “Proud Boys off our streets! Fascists retreat! No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA! Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Nazi boys have got to go!”

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