Night 49: Feds gas downtown groups; PPB arrests 20

2020 Protests

Tensions between city and feds ramp up as Homeland Security chief arrives

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Federal officers deployed tear gas and riot control munitions in an attempt to disperse protesters near the Justice Center and federal courthouse building as Portland police rushed demonstrators near the bureau’s Southeast Precinct after declaring an “unlawful assembly” during the 49th night of unrest in the city.

Federal officers first fired rounds and deployed tear gas after protesters stood their ground outside the federal courthouse late Thursday night. A few hundred demonstrators had gathered in the area but were told to disperse by police after they reportedly heard chanting about burning down the building.

Some protesters remained in the area and were arrested. By the end of the night, Portland police arrested a total of 20 people. There is still no word on how many arrests have been made by federal officers since they came to Portland.

Thursday’s events began in the evening with two separate marches: one organized by the PNW Youth Liberation Front and a “March for Black Education” organized by Black Youth Movement. The latter started at King Elementary School and ended at Woodlawn, while the former started at Laurelhurst Park and ended at the Portland Police Bureau’s Southeast Precinct on East Burnside, where protesters stood and chanted slogans directed at officers in riot gear for hours until the gathering was declared an unlawful assembly and officers ordered people to disperse.

Across the Willamette River, several hundred protesters gathered outside of the Justice Center and the Wendell Wyatt Federal Building. The federal building has been a main focus of contention in recent days. Federal officers have used tear gas multiple times against protesters since last week.

As the night progressed, federal officers in camouflage uniforms emerged and eventually engaged with protesters. Around 11:30 p.m., federal officers started firing riot control munitions and deploying tear gas in an effort to disperse people in the area.

Police say several targeted arrests were made near the Southeast Precinct around 11:40 p.m., shortly before an unlawful assembly was declared.

Police said the unlawful assembly was declared due to “criminal activity” occurring in the crowd, including throwing rocks, bottles, and sticks, as well as pointing green lasers at officers. By midnight, most of the crowd had not budged.

Shortly before midnight, a car reportedly drove up behind Portland police officers on the street — narrowly missing them. That car was later stopped and multiple arrests were made. PPB says officers disengaged shortly after.

As the protest continued into the early hours of Friday morning, a few hundred people remained in the area. Many dragged sections of fencing erected Thursday morning by officials around Chapman and Lownsdale squares into the streets to use as barricades.

Police again announced at 12:45 a.m. that an unlawful assembly had been declared, as most of the group who had returned to Southeast Precinct continued to stand in the middle of the street, blocking traffic. Officers then dispersed the crowd and made several arrests once again.

Groups dissipated for the most part within the next few hours. No tear gas was used by Portland police.

20 arrests made by PPB

By the end of the 49th straight night of protests, Portland police arrested a total of 20 people, ages ranging from 23 to 41.

Those that were detained face charges including disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, interfering with a peace officer and resisting arrest. One man, identified as 31-year-old Timothy Swales, is charged for reckless endangering, eluding in a vehicle, eluding on foot, reckless driving and hit and run.

Those arrested include:
Tupac L. Leahy
Alexandra Eutin
Timothy P. Rasmussin
Austin D. Zetting
Andria L. Wirthlin
Alexa Grafera
Samantha B. Hancock
Sara Rider
David Masterson
Robert C. Erickson
Gabriel Penk
Timothy Swales
Michael Joseph Dickerson
Emma G. Boster
Christopher Price
Andrew D. Jankowski
David M. Cole
Sean Jacobsen
Aaron Carson
John Alger

It is still not clear how many people have been detained by federal officers since they touched down in Portland.

An escalation in protest activity in the city is due, in part, to the arrival of Chad Wolf, the acting secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Wolf drove into downtown Portland Thursday afternoon, hours after issuing a statement condemning ongoing violence displayed at protests in the city.

Wolf accused local leaders of failing to protect the city, which he said has been “under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob.” Lawless anarchists, Wolf said, are destroying and desecrating property.

The following is a running timeline of events:

12:45 a.m. – SE Precinct

Protesters continued gathering near the precinct. Some objects had been thrown once or twice during the demonstrations earlier in the night, small things like bottles and a box of donuts scattered on the ground. But after police began rushing people, they threw larger objects toward police like shields and traffic cones.

For the third police rush on people at the scene, they kept it up for several blocks and drove their cars west down Burnside. Police knocked people to the ground as they rushed on them and other units of police even appeared, at least one lined up at an intersection west of the precinct as the main police unit continued moving people west. As people ran away, they threw garbage cans and recycling boxes into the street.

11:45 p.m. – SE Precinct

Police in riot gear rushed the crowd of protesters outside the PPB’s Southeast Precinct. The demonstrators scattered and officers told people to disperse to the south and west. The event has been declared an unlawful assembly. A few minutes later, people again gathered outside the precinct and police rushed them a second time.

11:30 p.m. – Downtown Portland

Law enforcement officials started firing rounds of riot control munitions at demonstrators outside the federal courthouse, followed by gas. Protesters scattered, many saying they did nothing to warrant the officers’ actions. Video from KOIN 6 News shows many protesters holding their hands up as they gathered on the sidewalk.

11 p.m. – Downtown Portland

Portland police warned people to not tamper with the fence at SW 4th Avenue and SW Salmon “if you do you will be subject to arrest.”

10 p.m. – Downtown Portland

People started gathering near the Justice Center and federal courthouse building despite fences erected by authorities around the nearby park blocks. Some people arrived with shields. Others were seen wearing helmets.

People were also seen grilling at the corner of SW 4th and Salmon.

10 p.m. – SE Precinct

Portland police have asked peaceful protesters to leave the area near the Southeast Precinct after officers “heard chants stating the crowd around Southeast Precinct wants to enter the property and burn down the precinct.”

The PPB warned those who threaten violence are “subject to arrest and use of force.”

Some people also shined lasers at security cameras and an apparent police officer posted on the roof.

9:10 p.m. – SE Precinct

The Portland Police Bureau tweeted “We have no intent to engage the crowd near SE 47th Avenue and SE Burnside Street. Please stay peaceful.”

An estimated 300 protesters are gathered on the street.

8:45 p.m. – SE Precinct

Police and a few dozen protesters who marched from Laurelhurst Park met face-to-face outside of the PPB’s Southeast Precinct/Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. The crowd chanted at officers dressed in riot gear.

Earlier in the day

A March for Black Education organized by Black Youth Movement started at King Elementary School and ended at Woodlawn. According to the website PDX Black Lives Matter Events, the march was to bring awareness to the lack of Black representation in Portland Public Schools and the treatment of Black/Indigenous/people of color students and faculty. It was to include speakers, demonstrators taking to the streets and snacks.

A SE Portland Rally Against Police Brutality also took place at Laurelhurst Park. According to a tweet from PNW Youth Liberation Front, the event began at the north side of Laurelhurst Park. The group then marched east on Burnside, ending at the PPB’s East Precinct.

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