PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Protesters overturned statues of former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in Downtown Sunday night, with organizers calling the event “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage.”
The event that quickly unraveled from demonstration to destructive protest to riot was deemed by the Portland Police Bureau as one of the most damaging nights of demonstrations in five months of nightly unrest.
Activity began just before 8 p.m. when a group gathered near SW Naito Parkway and W Burnside Street. PPB said organizers advertised the demonstration on social media with a warning to independent journalists and live streamers to not to bring cameras or broadcast from the area.
“This indicated that those attending were planning to engage in criminal behavior and were attempting to prevent the collection of video evidence that could be used to hold them accountable,” PPB said in a statement Monday. “Many in the group were wearing all black, masks, body armor, helmets, and were carrying shields. At its peak the crowd numbered close to 300 people.”
Police said the group blocked traffic when it marched on W Burnside Street and SW Broadway. The group stopped in the South Park Blocks and some members put chains and straps around the Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider equestrian statue. After attempts to pull it down manually, a vehicle was used to finally topple the statue. The same routine was applied to a nearby Abraham Lincoln statue.
Soon after, some people in the crowd began breaking windows at the Oregon Historical Society building. At least three lit flares were thrown into the structure in an apparent attempt to start fires, according to police, but the flares went out before causing significant damage.
About the same time as officers were dealing with the vandalism and destruction happening to the statues and OHS, Central Precinct Officers responded to a call of a person in the 2500 block of SE Clinton Street shooting a firearm in the neighborhood. After a brief chase, responding officers were able to find the suspect and take him into custody after he ran to a residence and went onto the front porch. Officers recovered a revolver and fortunately there were no reports of injured persons.
Meanwhile, the organized march proceeded south to the Portland State University Campus Public Safety office where numerous windows were shattered.
PPB said despite several warnings and riot declaration, the crowd continued committing acts of destruction.
Members of the group broke windows and applied graffiti on businesses as they went, including a jewelry store, restaurants, coffee shop, bank, phone store and more. A restaurant in the 1400 block of SW Park Avenue had at least two bullets fired through the front windows, which lodged in the back wall.
Three arrests were made with more arrests and charges possible, PPB said.
The following were booked in the Multnomah County Detention Center on the listed charges:
Malik Muhamad, 23, of Portland – Criminal Mischief in the First Degree (6 counts), Riot, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Loaded Firearm in Public (city code)
Justin Bowen, 25, of Portland — Assault in the Fourth Degree (2 counts), Unlawful Use of Pepper Spray
Brandon Bartells, 38, of Washington — Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, Reckless Endangering
Trump tweets, others react
Early Monday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted multiple times about the overnight damage in Portland.
Nearly 20 minutes later, Trump once more posted about the FBI, antifa and “poorly run Democratic cities.
“The FBI and Law Enforcement must focus their energy on ANTIFA and the Radical Left, those who have spent the summer trying to burn down poorly run Democrat Cities throughout the USA!”
Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone reacted to the riot on Monday as well. Her office sent the following statement:
“Public access to art is vital to our city’s cultural fabric. I condemn all acts of violence and destruction, especially those targeting public art. As your next Mayor, I’m ready to talk about how we move this city forward, from rethinking public safety to changing names and removing statues. If someone would like a statue removed, they can engage our public process to register that complaint and I’ll push City Council to listen and act swiftly. Our systems of government have long ignored problematic symbols and impacts of institutional racism, I am committed to changing that as mayor. People are hurting and that pain is valid. But anonymous acts of destruction outside of any agreed-upon process are toxic, unaccountable behavior that has no place in our city. We are not going to be governed by shooting paintballs. That’s not democracy, nor is it fair to those of us who believe in our public process.”
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Photos from downtown: