PPB: Fires set outside police union building, 14 arrested

2020 Protests

Fires were set outside the Portland police union building

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) –– Portland police declared an unlawful assembly and ultimately arrested 14 people as protesters blocked traffic and lit a fire outside the Portland Police Association office on North Lombard Street Thursday night.

“Leave the area to the north now. Failure to adhere to this order may subject you to arrest, citation, or the use of crowd control agents including, but not limited to, impact weapons and/or OC munitions (Oleoresin Capsicum),” the Portland Police Bureau tweeted at about 10:30 p.m.

About half-an-hour earlier, police warned the group to not vandalize the building or try to set it on fire. Despite the warning, someone set a fire outside the PPA building’s awnings as another person reportedly tried entering the building by hammering through a door.

Just before 10:30 p.m and the unlawful assembly declaration, someone set fire to the plywood affixed to the front door of the building.

Officers in tactical uniforms moved in after the unlawful assembly was declared and formed a line on North Lombard. The fire was extinguished as officers began dispersing the crowd and arrested several people. The scene mellowed and protesters resumed chanting and blowing bubbles.

Officers then disengaged from the crowd but went back about 45 minutes later to make additional targeted arrests. They stepped away once again before returning a third time take more people into custody — once some members of the group had climbed atop the roof of the PPA building.

The majority of the crowd left the area by 1 a.m.

Arrests made

A total of 14 people were arrested overnight. Those arrested and their charges were listed as follows:

  • Divita, Michael Robert, of Portland, Oregon, Disorderly Conduct II, Interfering with a Peace Officer
  • Brackley, Fiona, of Rockaway Park, New York, Interfering with a Peace Officer
  • Chen, Isabelle, of Portland, Oregon, Interfering with a Peace Officer
  • Disney, Harry Priester, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct II
  • Kalsta-Watkins, Sophia P., of Portland, Oregon, Arson II, Disorderly Conduct II, Interfering with a Peace Officer
  • Briones, Victoria C., of Greensville, South Carolina, Trespass II
  • Moreno, Oliviana, of Portland, Oregon, Trespass II, Disorderly Conduct II, Interfering with a Peace Officer
  • Jung, Cariana M., of Portland, Oregon, Disorderly Conduct II, Interfering with a Peace Officer
  • Houghton, Tyler D., of Portland Oregon, Interfering with a Peace Officer
  • Sadik, Abdiahman, of Portland, Oregon, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct II
  • Southern, Curtis, of Salem, Oregon, Disorderly Conduct II, Interfering with a Peace Officer
  • Crisp, Andrew M., Resisting Arrest, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct II
  • Glenn, Jenna, of Tualatin, Oregon, Resisting Arrest, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct II
  • Adibel, Lisa Janelle, of Portland Oregon, Disorderly Conduct II, Interfering with a Peace Officer

On Friday, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced charges had been filed against 21-year-old Sophia Paige Kalsta-Watkins for first-degree arson. Kalsta-Watkins is accused of setting fire to wooden boards lining the PPA building’s exterior on Thursday night. Court documents show she was arrested near North Lombard and North Campbell Avenue and had a lighter and a can of spray paint in her possession.

A booking photo of Sophia Paige Kalsta-Watkins, Sept. 25, 2020. (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

Protest plans

Online posts suggested a protest would be held at Arbor Lodge Park Thursday night.

According to Safe PDX, a self-described abolitionist collective, a direct action march was planned to meet up at 7 p.m. and then move at 8 p.m. at North Portland’s Arbor Lodge Park. The slogan “No Cops! No Prisons! Total Abolition!” is written on the event flyer, which was posted early Thursday afternoon on Twitter.

On Wednesday night hundreds gathered downtown for a demonstration calling for justice for Breonna Taylor.

PPB: 13 arrested during riot, Molotov cocktails thrown at officers

300 people stood outside the Justice Center as about 75 others made their way to the Central Precinct side of the building, blocked traffic, and some threw “softball-sized” rocks through the precinct’s windows, police said. Through the course of the night a riot was declared after someone set fire to an awning on the side of the police building, according to PPB.

In addition, police said they saw what looked like multiple Molotov cocktails thrown toward police and in turn PPB responded with some crowd control munitions and arrested 13.

Federal agents with Department of Homeland Security and Federal Protective Services also made a presence Thursday night and were seen using tear gas and other crowd-control munitions, according to videos posted on social media and obtained by KOIN 6 News.

Portland saw more than 100 consecutive nights of protests over the summer in a call for Black Lives Matter and against police brutality and racism. Though the nightly street demonstrations ceased briefly due to wildfire smoke, they’ve since been reinvigorated in part due to the ruling in the case of Taylor’s death, announced Wednesday.

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