Documents detail law enforcement response to ongoing Portland protests

2020 Protests

The filings detailed the overnight protests since May 28

Pioneer Family statue set on fire in the early hours of Sunday morning. July 5, 2020 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than 100 pages of court documents detailing law enforcement’s response to ongoing protests in Portland were filed in federal court this week.

The protests have resulted in at least $285,000 in damage to at least two public buildings and more than $4.8 million to businesses in downtown Portland, according to the documents filed by city and county attorneys for the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

The filings contained records of the overnight protests since May 28, including declarations from law enforcement officers and other city officials, photos of damage and a list of more than 100 fires set amid the demonstrations.

Most of the nightly protests have centered in the streets and park surrounding the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown Portland; however, riots have also been declared outside of Portland police’s North Precinct and the police union’s office building in North Portland.

The documents were filed as a response to a lawsuit against the law enforcement agencies’ use of tear gas in multiple instances against protesters. A judge granted a temporary restraining order limiting the use of tear gas and less-lethal munitions unless lives or public safety is at risk; however, the plaintiff, Don’t Shoot Portland, has asked a judge to hold the City of Portland in contempt, saying police violated the order.

In the City of Portland’s motion filed in U.S. District Court, attorneys wrote Portland authorities have “encouraged and supported” protests where thousands of people have demonstrated in the streets “to have their voices heard and ensure that much needed changes are made in policing,” but added the case was about the ability of Portland police being able to respond to “the nightly deluge of dangerous objects thrown and launched at them and at occupied buildings, nightly fires and widespread criminal activity.”

Attorneys for PPB and Multnomah Sheriff’s Office “spent 100 pages talking about alleged criminal activity, and not a single page explaining what that has to do with the peaceful protesters they tear gassed. Every declaration came from either a police officer, or an attorney,” Don’t Shoot Portland’s attorney Juan Chavez said in a statement to KOIN 6 News. “Our declarations came from the community they injured.”

The protests outside of the Justice Center started days after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis when the officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes after Floyd allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd’s killing sparked massive protests in Minneapolis, resonating across the country as states continue to grapple with the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

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