Night 59: Feds use tear gas, arrest protesters after fence rattling, fireworks

2020 Protests

Protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd have been going strong for two months

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Federal authorities once again used tear gas against demonstrators who had descended on downtown Portland Sunday night to protest police and systemic racism amid the hottest temperatures of the year so far, which hit triple digits Sunday in the Willamette Valley.

The first use of tear gas and other crowd-control munitions by federal officers against demonstrators outside of the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse came after only one warning just after midnight as some protesters rattled the fence surrounding the federal property and launched fireworks toward the courthouse, KOIN 6 News witnessed. Portland police said someone also attempted to cut through the fence, though the bureau added that Portland officers did not make any arrests or participate in dispersing the crowds.

Late Monday afternoon, the US Attorney of Oregon’s office announced 22 people were arrested between July 23-27 on a variety of charges. Those arrested and their charges are lower in this article.

Federal officers announced an unlawful assembly before 12:30 a.m. Demonstrators remained in the area, chanting “Feds go home” in response.

KOIN 6 News witnessed federal officers detain at least two people around 1:30 a.m. in the middle of the street in front of the federal courthouse. Officers pushed the crowd back as far as 5th Avenue using tear gas, flash bangs, and pepper balls. KOIN 6 News also witnessed officers appearing to mace someone who was on a motorcycle.

Earlier Sunday evening, police were called out to Lownsdale Square after a shot was fired. Officers arrested two people in connection to the incident, and someone went to the hospital with an apparent gunshot wound.

Early Monday morning, police announced that both people who were taken into custody in connection to the shooting were released. No others have been arrested.

Police did not say if the shooting was connected to protest activity in the area.

Recent demonstrations have ballooned in size, with upwards of 3,000 people taking to the streets Saturday night. The atmosphere is often festive early on in the evening, with food, art, and drummers.

“We have such a rich culture here of art and expression,” said Michelle DePass, a Portland Public Schools school board member. “That we have like a marching band, it’s amazing.”

Protesters like DePass say they want the focus to remain on the message of the protest.

“The reason we are out here is because Black lives matter and the feds need to get out of town,” DePass said. “No one wants them here. Obviously tens of thousands of Portlanders want them gone.”

Caesar the No Drama Llama made an appearance at Saturday night’s protest outside the Justice Center and neighboring federal courthouse. His caretaker, Larry McCool, is pictured in the background in a llama t-shirt. July 25, 2020 (KOIN)

The demonstrations have also brought out local animal celebrity, Caesar the No Drama Llama.

“This is his fifth Black Lives Matter March,” said caretaker Larry McCool on Saturday evening. He said the llama loves people and is quite comfortable being in crowds.

“His job as the No Drama Llama is to bring tension down and to take drama out of people’s lives—not add to it,” said McCool. He said he and Caesar clear out as soon as things get too intense. “When we were down here before, we could smell the gas. But, [I] take him out of the situation before anything happens.”

Because after dark, the scene changes. Clouds of tear gas have spread over downtown Portland every night for almost two weeks. This weekend has already seen numerous conflicts between law enforcement and demonstrators.

Federal arrests announced

Of the 22 arrests made between July 23-27 and announced by the US Attorney of Oregon’s office on Monday, 16 are for assaulting federal officers. Four are charged with failing to obey an order, one with operating a drone and one for harassing and stalking.

Assaulting federal officers

  • Carly Anne Ballard, 34
  • David Michael Bouchard, 36
  • Rebecca Gonzales-Mota, 37
  • Stephen O’Donnell, 65
  • Thomas Johnson, 33
  • Nathan Oderdonk-Snow, 21
  • Joshua Webb, 22
  • Pablo Avvacato, 26
  • Doug Dean, 34
  • Michael Stephenson, 23
  • Caleb Willis, 29
  • Noelle Mandolfo, 30
  • Travis Williams, 27
  • Patrick Stanford, age unknown
  • Coree Jefree, age unknown
  • Tyler Gabriel, 22

Failing to obey lawful order

  • Josslynn Kreutz, 28
  • Dakota Eastman, 30
  • Ezra Meyers, 18
  • Mark Rolycanov, 28

Operating a drone in restricted space

  • Richard Lindstet, 33

Harassing and stalking federal employees

  • Ronald Bernard Hickey, 44, a Canadian National. Hickey used his Twitter account, @TawasiSoce, to knowingly release personal information in an attempt to threaten, intimidate, or incite violence against them.

Timeline of Events for Sunday, July 26, 2020

2 a.m.

Past 2 a.m. on Monday morning, federal agents were still clashing with protesters. They were using tear gas, pepper balls, and flash bangs to disperse the crowds.

Our crew spotted at least two people being taken into custody. There is no official word on how many arrests were made by federal officers.

1:30 a.m.

Officers pushed into the street in front of the federal courthouse. KOIN 6 News saw them detain at least two people. Federal officers remained in the streets of Portland for about an hour, pushing the crowd back to the opposite side of Lownsdale Square Park first, then as far away as 5th Avenue. Officers used tear gas, shot pepper balls, and launched flash bangs to push the crowd back. They used the same crowd control munitions again when they retreated around 2:30 a.m.

1 a.m.

Police say a fire was started inside the fence along SW 3rd Avenue just before 1 a.m. They said the blaze began quickly but was extinguished within minutes. Dozens of people then reportedly approached the fence with shields and started to throw objects over it.

12 a.m.

Federal officers turned on the lights outside the courthouse and warned protesters not to climb on the fence. Moments later, tear gas was deployed.

Demonstrators did not immediately disperse, and federal authorities declared an unlawful assembly 12:30 a.m., to which protesters responded by chanting “Feds go home.”

11 p.m.

Sporadic fireworks could be heard between chants of “Black Lives Matter” outside the federal courthouse.

10 p.m.

The ten o’clock hour was largely centered on speakers at the steps of the Justice Center. The crowd of protesters listened and responded with chants such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Whose streets? Our streets!”

9 p.m.

Hundreds of people again mobilized and arrived downtown around 9 p.m. Sunday evening. Youth organizers led several protest chants from the back of a pick up truck and the Mom Bloc arrived in solidarity around nine o’clock.

Via Twitter, Portland police said an officer found a bag full of rifle magazines and two Molotov cocktails at Lownsdale Square Sunday night.

Portland Police say they made several arrests early Sunday morning after the bureau had declared a riot. Six people were arrested on charges including interfering with a peace officer, disorderly conduct, assault, and resisting arrest. Toward the end of the 57th night of activity, early Saturday morning, police arrested a man accused of stabbing another man near Salmon and 4th. The victim was taken to the hospital.

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