PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Police declared a riot late Wednesday night after hundreds of demonstrators returned to downtown Portland after more than a week in which the biggest events were held in other parts of the city.
As many as 300 people had gathered in Chapman and Lownsdale Square parks by about 9:30 p.m. Within an hour and a half, a riot was declared after fires were set near the federal courthouse and items like fireworks and rocks were thrown at officers. Portland police say one officer’s hand was severely hurt and several others suffered minor injuries.
Two people were arrested: Daniel Applegate, 31, and Marissa Wilder-Hancock, 19.
Applegate, who lives in Troutdale, was arrested for riot, resisting arrest, interfering with a peace officer and disorderly conduct. There was also an outstanding parole board warrant for him on a first-degree rape charge.
Wilder-Hancock is charged with criminal mischief and reckless burning. She lives in Portland.
Earlier in the night
Police say members of the group began launching fireworks at the fence surrounding the courthouse by 10:30 p.m., while some individuals threw an “unknown foreign substance” at the front doors of the PPB Central Precinct.
Despite the fireworks, the gathering remained largely quiet until about 11 p.m. — when a couple of small fires were lit near the federal courthouse. A fake pig head and Trump flag were set ablaze in the middle of SW 3rd Avenue. More fireworks and other objects were thrown over the fence surrounding the courthouse. Meanwhile, private vehicles blocked traffic from entering the protest area. Less than half an hour later, police warned the crowd over a speaker that criminal activity was occurring near the courthouse and needed to stop.
Portland police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly at 11:30 p.m., cautioning that those who failed to leave would be subject to the use of tear gas, crowd control agents or other impact weapons. They said it was a riot just minutes before midnight.
Despite the riot declaration, protesters began moving toward the Justice Center as some threw fireworks and eggs at officers.
Large numbers of Oregon State Police troopers, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Portland police officers then took to the streets to disperse the crowds, making arrests and deploying tear gas as they moved. KOIN 6 News witnessed authorities pepper spray at least one person.
Police say around 12:45 a.m., about 100 people remained and were moving back to the Justice Center. Those protesters continued to throw items while officers dispersed the crowd once again. Some members of the group then moved near the Central Precinct, where one person was arrested after vandalizing a police car.
The vast majority of the demonstrators had dispersed by 2:30 a.m.
Ahead of Wednesday night’s demonstrations, an online post urged people to meet at Chapman Square. The flyer included a note that read, “No cops. No prisons. Total abolition! (That includes peace police).”
“Peace police” refers to protesters who try to tell other demonstrators how to behave, usually demanding they not destroy property or directly engage with law enforcement.
Conflict between peaceful protesters and other demonstrators became especially apparent during the final days of federal officers’ presence outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland. Once group of protesters would usually gather for speeches at the Justice Center, and loudly chastise those who tampered with the fence or set off fireworks outside the courthouse one block away.
Beginning last week, demonstrators primarily marched on police buildings in other parts of the city. Riots and unlawful assemblies were declared at the East Precinct, the North Precinct, the Portland Police Association building in North Portland, and outside the Penumbra Kelly building on E Burnside.
Wednesday’s planned demonstrations follow a Tuesday night with no arrests and no physical clashes between crowd members and police. One group gathered downtown near the Justice Center. Another met in Southeast Portland and marched to the Penumbra Kelly building on E Burnside Street.
Portland police warned the crowd early on not to enter the property and, for the most part, the crowd complied. People blocked the street, chanted and drummed, but the group had largely dissipated by 12:30 a.m.