PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Protesters in Portland reportedly looted businesses and set one side of Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct on fire early Friday morning, after a night of demonstrations turned destructive.
According to police, the north side of the North Precinct was set ablaze around 2:15 a.m. In response, officers used CS gas, a type of tear gas, to disperse the crowd — a few canisters of which were thrown back at police by some protesters. Earlier in the night, demonstrators reportedly attempted to create an autonomous zone outside the precinct before an unlawful assembly was declared.
At one point in the early morning, protesters and officers physically clashed as police tried to move them from the area. Some protesters shot paintballs at the officers’ face shields, rendering them unable to see. Police say crowd control munitions were used at this time.
Several businesses were looted overnight after windows were smashed and more fires were set, according to authorities. Although it is not confirmed which business was looted, Top to Bottom on NE MLK Boulevard had restoration crews out early Friday morning installing new windows and clearing debris. A nearby bank is believed to have been vandalized as well.
The majority of protesters dispersed around 3:30 a.m., according to PPB. Police said multiple officers suffered non-life threatening injuries as a result of the demonstrations.
They also said four arrests were made, some for assaults or attempted assaults on police. More information on those arrests is forthcoming. Police said the protests overnight were notably more aggressive than those seen in recent weeks.
Police have asked the public to avoid the area near Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Northeast Ainsworth to Northeast Alberta.
For the first time since George Floyd was killed exactly one month ago, people in Portland demonstrated at two police precincts simultaneously overnight, with one in North Portland resulting in barricades set up by protesters before police declared an unlawful assembly.
Shortly after midnight, police declared the gathering outside of the North Precinct an unlawful assembly and used what appeared to be flash-bangs after protesters created barricades on the streets surrounding the precinct, including Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Police warned they would arrest demonstrators. Protesters responded with loud noises, explicit chanting and strobe lights. Eventually, protesters would set up another barricade at the intersection of MLK and NE Killingsworth St., setting a dumpster and debris on fire.
The protesters had marched from Fern Hill Park in Northeast Portland to the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct earlier Thursday evening. Many of them stayed at the precinct to chant and listen to speakers.
However, KOIN 6 News observed many in the group vandalizing the police building by spray-painting graffiti along the outer walls, blacking out security cameras and rolling dumpsters into the street to form a barricade as a line of uniformed officers looked on from a distance.
Some protesters also attempted to barricade the North Precinct’s exit doors so that anyone inside the building could not get out.
Across the Willamette River at the Justice Center, another group formed on Thursday evening for a vigil for George Floyd and others killed by police. Later, the group dismantled the fence near the building and vandalized the structure.
The day’s events come a day after relative quiet in the Portland metro area. Rose City Justice, the group that has led numerous rallies and marches in the past month, canceled its march planned for Wednesday. RCJ cited behavior organizers “consider unacceptable, including silencing, neglecting feedback from our communities, especially our marginalized communities.”
“As a civil rights collective, we know that all voices need to be heard and this is the opportunity for us to practice what we preach,” RCJ said on Instagram.
Here’s what happened on Thursday, June 25 and Friday, June 26:
The majority of protesters reportedly dispersed. Police say four arrests were made and information is forthcoming.
Police said fires were lit not only at the North Precinct, but at surrounding structures as well. Several businesses were looted overnight.
Police at the North Precinct have declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and have ordered people to leave the area or they could be subject to riot control munitions or arrest.
The group is responding with drums, noise makers and nonstop chanting of explicit slogans. KOIN 6 News witnessed police use what appeared to be flash bangs against the protesters to disperse the crowd of about 200.
Protesters have set up barricades near NE MLK and Emerson about 100 feet away from a line of officers outside of the PPB’s North Precinct.
A KOIN 6 crew watched a driver plow through a group of protesters in the street near the PPB’s North Precinct. No one seemed to be injured but some protesters started running from the area. The car was seen heading north from the corner of NE Garfield and Emerson.
Other protesters have spray-painted graffiti outside the precinct walls and on security cameras. Some have rolled dumpsters into the street.
Demonstrators in downtown Portland have knocked down a portion of the fence at the Justice Center. Some have used strobe lights and lasers to assault news crews, including KOIN 6, and drive them away from the area.
A vigil for George Floyd and others killed by police is underway at Chapman Square in downtown Portland, hosted by Revolution Rising.
The group that marched from Fern Hill Park has stopped outside of the PPB’s North Precinct. An organizer has said over a bullhorn that they are there only to “occupy space” but others in the crowd have voiced other opinions.
Protesters who gathered at Fern Hill Park are marching toward the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct, chanting slogans like “Who’s streets? Our streets!”
The children and families who gathered at Essex City Park are marching, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and holding signs.
A few dozen people have also gathered at Fern Hill Park for a separate planned march hosted by PDX Standing By in Northeast Portland.
Kids and families went to Essex City Park in Southeast Portland for a preschool-appropriate concert and march hosted by Green Tulip Peace & Nature School. They’re listening to music, anti-racism readings and talks.
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