Night 51: Riot declared at police union, tear gas used at Justice Center

2020 Protests

Peaceful protests began Saturday afternoon

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Protests on both sides of the river were met with police use of force Saturday on the 51st consecutive night of demonstrations against police brutality that were initially spurred by the death of George Floyd but given new fuel when federal agents arrived in the city.

Protesters broke into the Portland Police Association building and set a small fire during a protest, July 18, 2020 (PPB)

A riot was declared at the Portland Police Association Headquarters on N Lombard after police said demonstrators broke into the building and lit a fire. Meanwhile, federal officers deployed teargas outside the federal courthouse in downtown.

Earlier Saturday, a new fence had surrounded the Hatfield Federal Courthouse on SW 3rd Avenue, where protesters and federal officers have clashed in recent nights. The fencing that had been dismantled by protesters Friday night around Chapman Square and Lownsdale Park was also repaired and replaced. By Saturday night, those repaired fences had come down again.

On Saturday afternoon, PPB officials said in a statement that commanders from the Federal Protective Service will not work in the PPB incident command center.

Zane Sparling of KOIN 6 News media partner the Portland Tribune caught federal agents striking a protester:

Nine people were arrested on a variety of charges Friday night/Saturday morning. PPB reported that four more people were arrested in connection to Saturday night/Sunday morning’s demonstrations.

Two people were charged with rioting Saturday night:

  • 27-year-old Phillis Hand, Disorderly Conduct II, Interfering with a Police Officer, Riot,
    Assault Public Safety Officer
  • 29-year-old Benjamin Browne, Riot, Attempt Assault Public Safety Officer, Resist Arrest, Interfering with a Police Officer, Disorderly Conduct II

President Donald Trump weighed in on the situation in Portland Sunday via Twitter saying leadership does not have a grip on the situation:

A Black Lives Matter March for Justice began at 5 p.m. at Holladay Park. A march began at 7 p.m. with an announced stop at Mayor Ted Wheeler’s house before moving down to the Justice Center.

Timeline of Events

12 a.m.

Hundreds of protesters remained outside the Federal Courthouse and Justice Center. The clouds of teargas deployed by federal agents a few hours earlier had cleared. People continued to chant to the beat of a drum. A sound system was also set up and speakers took turns addressing the crowd.

Protesters at the Portland Police Association had, for the most part, dispersed after police declared a riot and pushed people east.

11 p.m.

Minutes before 11 p.m. the Portland police declared a riot at the Portland Police Association.

A crowd of protesters had formed around the building. A dumpster that was used as a roadblock on N Lombard had been overturned and set on fire as well. Then, police said via Twitter, “People have broken into the Portland Police Association office and lit the building on fire.”

Officers in riot gear rushed in and began dispersing the crowd, pushing people east. It is unclear if arrests were made at the scene.

Protesters used dumpsters as roadblocks on North Lombard Street outside the Portland Police Association Headquarters. Those were overturned and set on fire. July 18, 2020 (KOIN/Danny Peterson)

Outside the Justice Center and Federal Courthouse, fireworks were set off. Demonstrators chanted, “Stay together, Stay tight, We do this every night.”

Some people took apart the newest iteration of fencing that lined the federal building and stacked it up against the front entrance that was boarded up.

10 p.m.

In Northeast Portland, hundreds of demonstrators marched from the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct toward the Portland Police Association Headquarters on North Lombard Street. Police said protesters blocked N Lombard with dumpsters.

In downtown Portland, another group of protesters gathered outside the Justice Center and Federal Courthouse.

Around 10:45 p.m. tear gas was used against demonstrators outside the federal courthouse. A federal officer was also filmed striking a protester with a baton and using pepper spray.

9 p.m.

Across the river, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct Saturday evening. Portland Tribune reporter and media partner Zane Sparling said demonstrators were chanting “quit your job.”

Portland police said, “People gathering around North Precinct are interfering with the operations of a police facility.” Demonstrators were told to move back to NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd or be subject to “arrest, citation, or use of force including crowd control munitions”

The crowd then began marching north on MLK Blvd.

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner

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