PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) –– Portland police declared a riot and arrested 13 people as hundreds gathered outside the PPB’s Central Precinct on SW 2nd Avenue Wednesday night.
Three police officers were hurt and various people were arrested overnight as fires were lit to the Justice Center, windows were shattered at the Central Precinct and Molotov cocktails went flying in the streets. The riot comes amid national unrest over the ruling in the case of Breonna Taylor’s death, which was announced earlier in the day.
As a crowd of 300 people stood outside the Justice Center, about 75 individuals made their way to the Central Precinct side of the building around 9:45 p.m. According to police, the crowd blocked traffic in the street while some threw “softball-sized” rocks through the precinct’s windows. Once the glass was broken, police said, some people used slingshots to fire projectiles through the shattered windows while others attempted to break into the front lobby.
Officers tweeted at 10 p.m. that the event was an unlawful assembly and demanded protesters leave the area and get out of the street. “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),” said the Portland Police Bureau.
About 20 minutes later, someone set fire to an awning on the side of the police building. This led police to declare a riot and said those who failed to leave the area immediately could face “arrest, citation, or the use of crowd control agents including, but not limited to, impact weapons and/or OC munitions (Oleoresin Capsicum).”
As officers moved in, what looked like a Molotov cocktail was thrown in front of a police van, bursting into a wall of flame. The PPB said rocks were also thrown at upper glass windows of the precinct while fireworks and glass bottles were thrown at officers.
The crowd refused to budge despite the PPB’s attempts at dispersal — people continued to block traffic while some threw soup cans and shined green lasers at officers.
One officer was hit with a Molotov cocktail while trying to disperse the group — it hit his foot, but a nearby medic was able to quickly extinguish the flames. Another Molotov cocktail was thrown towards officers near SW 3rd Avenue and SW Main Street, and later yet another Molotov cocktail was thrown near SW Broadway and SW Main Street, according to police.
Police also shut down a large portion of the downtown area, including SW Naito Parkway to SW Broadway from SW Columbia Street to SW Harvey Milk due to the dangers presented by the Molotov cocktails. Officers in tactical gear moved through the streets, trying to disperse the crowds it moved back toward the Justice Center.
Shortly after midnight, a group of about 75 people returned to Chapman Square Park. The crowd at SW 2nd Avenue and SW Madison Street eventually dispersed around 1:30 a.m.
A KOIN 6 News crew spotted smoke rolling through the streets and nearby parks and heard what sounded like less-lethal munitions being fired by police at protesters. The PPB later confirmed they used some crowd control munitions.
Also active in the night were federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Protective Services. In social media reports and in new video we obtained, federal agents are seen using tear gas and clearing streets by using other crowd-control munitions.
Earlier this week the Department of Justice labeled Portland, among other cities, as “a jurisdiction permitting violence and destruction of property.”
Arrests made overnight
By the end of the night, 13 total arrests were made. PPB Chief Chuck Lovell said he was glad officers were able to make the arrests and “hold people accountable for the reprehensible acts of violence.”
Those arrested and their charges were listed as follows:
- Colleen E. McDonald, 27, from Portland, arrested for Resist Arrest, Harassment, Interfering with a Police Officer, and Disorderly Conduct II
- Joseph Robert Sipe, 23, from Portland, arrested for Attempt Murder, Attempt Assault I, Arson I, Possession of a Destructive Device
- Brandon Paape, 31, from Portland, arrested for Resist Arrest, Interfering with a Police Officer, and Disorderly Conduct II
- Hanna Lilly, 21, from Portland, arrested for Riot
- Cyan Waters Bass, 21, from Portland, arrested for Attempt Assault I, Arson I (x2), Possession of a Destructive Device, Criminal Mischief I
- Ryan Rasmussen, 47, from Portland, arrested for Riot, Resist Arrest, Interfering with a Police Officer, and Disorderly Conduct II
- Benjamin William Kopsa, 24, from Portland, arrested for Riot, Interfering with a Police Officer, and Disorderly Conduct II
- Conor A. Finnegan, 28, from Portland, arrested for Riot, Interfering with a Police Officer, and Disorderly Conduct II
- Venancio Bautista-DeJesus, 25, from Gresham, arrested for Interfering with a Police Officer and Disorderly Conduct II
- Juan Bautista, 27, from Portland, arrested for Riot, Interfering with a Police Officer, Resist Arrest, and Disorderly Conduct II
- Aimee A. Zink, 28, from Portland, arrested for Interfering with a Police Officer
- Anthony P. Herrington, 28, from Portland, arrested for Riot, Interfering with a Police Officer, Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, and Disorderly Conduct II
- Calvin Jerome Jackson, 19, from Portland, arrested for Criminal Mischief I
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday afternoon that charges had been filed against three people.
Joseph Sipe is charged with one count of riot and one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device. The DA’s office said Sipe allegedly admitted to lighting and throwing a Molotov cocktail behind a line of police officers on SW Main Street.
Cyan Bass is charged with one count of riot, two counts of first-degree arson, one count of first-degree attempted assault, one count of possession of a destructive device, one count of attempted assault on a public safety officer and one count of unlawful use of a weapon. Bass allegedly squirted a substance onto the main doors of the PPB’s Central Precinct and then set them on fire. Police said they saw Bass squirt an accelerant onto a boarded-up section of Central Precinct’s north-facing facade, then set it on fire. Police also said Bass was seen lighting a handheld object and throwing it at officers but it didn’t explode.
Finally, Calvin Jackson is charged with one count of felony riot and one count of second-degree criminal mischief. Jackson is accused of throwing rocks at the windows of Central Precinct and breaking at least one window.
In a Thursday morning tweet, the Oregon State Police condemned the violence seen overnight.
“The Oregon State Police condemns this blatant violence and the targeted assault of police officers,” the tweet read. “We denounce this unlawful conduct and those that tolerate this abhorrent behavior.”
A separate group gathered a bit earlier outside the Justice Center to listen to speeches.
“Justice for Breonna Taylor!” read the flyer posted on the Twitter page Safe PDX, a self-described abolitionist collective. The event started at Chapman Square in front of the Justice Center, a frequent locale of protests advocating Black Lives Matter and against police brutality and racism over the summer. In recent weeks the Justice Center had seen less of a focus, with protests occurring at various locations all over Portland.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical worker studying to become a nurse, was shot several times in her hallway after three plainclothes narcotics detectives busted down the door of her apartment after midnight on March 13. The officers entered the home as part of an investigation into a suspect who lived across town. No drugs were found at Taylor’s home.
Taylor’s death, alongside that of George Floyd, a Black man who died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck, helped spark a nationwide wave of protests demanding racial justice and an end to the use of excessive force by law enforcement.
Tuesday night saw a gathering of about 75 people march from Laurelhurst Park to the Penumbra Kelly Building, a building shared by Portland Police Bureau officers and Mutlnomah County Sheriff personnel. The Southeast Portland activities resulted in traffic being blocked and three arrests, Portland Police Bureau stated.
After the protest subsided, two people who had been participating in the march were injured in a shooting on Northeast Glisan St. overnight, the fourth shooting of the evening, PPB said.