Group lights fires in street outside Justice Center, 2 arrested

2020 Protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Protesters set fires in the road outside the Justice Center in downtown Portland Thursday night, prompting stern warnings from police and multiple arrests.

A group of about 100 people had formed outside the Justice Center and outside the Portland Police Bureau’s Central Precinct by about 10 p.m. Some people were seen spray painting the Central Precinct and stacking garbage near the garage exits and entrances. Meanwhile, other protesters set a fire in the middle of SW 3rd Avenue while others chanted slogans like “No Justice, No Peace” and blocked traffic.

Minutes later, Portland police ordered the group to get out of the roadway and warned those who didn’t comply with the consequences.

“If you remain in the roadway and show the intent to engage in physical resistance to removal, or if emergency circumstances require, you may be subject to the use of force, including crowd control agents and impact weapons. Move to the sidewalk,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a tweet.

Despite the warnings, much of the crowd refused to budge.

About an hour later, police were telling protesters to let firefighters move in and extinguish the fire. Officers threatened to use tear gas if the group interfered. A second fire was started a short time later, this time near the sidewalk. Most of the protesters then moved to the entrance of the PPB’s downtown precinct on SW 2nd Avenue.

A car associated with the protest stopped near the fire at one point and a passenger exited the car — who then poured accelerant on the flames. The car was later stopped and the passenger, identified as 18-year-old Rachel Lee Tabot, was cited for reckless burning and arson.

A short time later, firefighters moved in to extinguish the fire. Once the blaze was put out, they stepped away from the area — as did the officers.

More warnings were given throughout the night as the crowd remained in the street, continuing to block traffic and set small fires. Officers eventually moved back in to make some targeted arrests before the group dispersed around 12:30 a.m.

Two total arrests were made overnight. Zachary Reinhardt, 29, was arrested for interfering with a peace officer and second-degree disorderly conduct. while 25-year-old Justin Bowen was arrested for reckless burning.

Recent demonstrations

On Wednesday night, people gathered near Portland’s Revolution Hall to honor George Floyd on what would have been his 47th birthday. Around 150 people spent the evening lighting candles, leaving flowers beneath a portrait of Floyd, listening to speeches and even an opera singer.

The night marked the first major demonstration planned since people overturned statues of former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln Sunday night, during an event dubbed “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage.” The Oregon Historical Society, Portland State University campus public safety office, a jewelry store, multiple restaurants, a coffee shop, a bank and a phone store were among several buildings damaged.

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