PPB denies using tear gas near federal courthouse

2020 Protests

Federal officers were at the courthouse overnight but it's unclear if they deployed any CS gas

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Some people accuse law enforcement in Portland of using tear gas on protesters during the early hours of Friday morning — but Portland police have denied doing so.

Portland police declared a riot just after midnight when tensions between officers and protesters escalated outside the federal courthouse on SW 3rd Avenue.

Videos shared with KOIN 6 News show some people lighting off fireworks and law enforcement dressed in camouflage uniforms rushing protesters outside the courthouse. Another video shows a substance hanging in the air as people in the area cough.

A temporary restraining order is currently in effect limiting the PPB’s use of tear gas against protesters after a judge extended the order through July 24. Tear gas can only be used if “lives or safety of the public or police are at risk.” Officers did, however, use the gas to disperse a crowd after declaring a riot near the Portland Police Association building on Tuesday night.

Portland police said no CS gas (also known as tear gas) was used Friday morning but one protester said she could see and smell the gas, though she didn’t know who used it.

“The biggest incident was outside the federal courthouse when there was some type of law enforcement in way more military-style gear,” said freelance journalist Garrison Davis. “There was camo and they used what tasted to be like CS gas.

The Portland Police Bureau said federal officers were at the federal courthouse overnight to protect the integrity of the building. Earlier in the week, the Department of Homeland Security announced a task force would be deployed to protect historic monuments, statues and federal facilities ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

KOIN 6 News is working to learn whether any federal agencies were involved in the reported use of tear gas on Friday morning.

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