PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say more than a dozen people were arrested early Sunday after throwing fireworks and mortars as they clashed with police, several of whom were injured during the second straight night of rioting.
Police said in a news release that they used tear gas and crowd control munitions to stymie protesters who they say broke windows at a federal courthouse and nearby businesses in a protest that lasted until 4:30 a.m. Sunday. They declared a riot in the area for the second straight night.
Several officers were injured when fireworks and mortars exploded near them.
Names of the people arrested and what they were being arrested for were not immediately released.
Portland Police Bureau news release:
Demonstration Devolves into Riot July 4 to 5 2020-Arrests Made, Firearm Recovered (Photo)
One main demonstration occurred in Portland during the evening hours of July 4 through the early morning hours of June 5, 2020.
Early in the evening, a large group began gathering in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. For awhile, the group listened to performers and assembled in the area. Multiple members of the group began launching fireworks from Southwest Main Street where the elk statue used to stand. During this time, a man carrying a rifle was seen in the area of Southwest 4th Avenue and Salmon Street. Several demonstrators surrounded him, but left him alone and eventually he left.
Just before 10 p.m., demonstrators began blocking westbound traffic on Southwest Main Street. Demonstrators continued to shoot off fireworks from this location, as well as Southwest 3rd Avenue. A vehicle associated with the demonstration had a speaker system and false announcements were broadcast that appeared to impersonate the Portland Police Bureau's sound truck. Demonstrators began burning an American flag they hung from the Justice Center.
Around 10:30 p.m., demonstrators began shooting commercial grade fireworks towards the Justice Center and the Federal Courthouse. Several of the demonstrators were observed carrying shields. The sound truck admonished the crowd warning them to discontinue firing fireworks and incendiary devices at the two buildings. The crowd members were warned if they continued the criminal acts, they would be subject to use of force or arrest. Despite several admonishments, many of the demonstrators continued their illegal acts.
At 10:48 p.m., demonstrators continued launching fireworks and projectiles at the Federal Courthouse. Because of this, several windows were broken and fireworks and projectiles entered the Federal Courthouse building.
To protect the life and safety of personnel both inside and outside of the Federal Court House, just after 11 p.m., a riot was declared. Officers began dispersing the crowd moving demonstrators from the closed area of Southwest Broadway to Southwest 1st Avenue, Southwest Columbia to Southwest Yamhill Street.
As officers dispersed the crowd, demonstrators threw bricks, mortars, M-80s, and other flammables towards them. To defend themselves from serious injury, officers used crowd control munitions and tear gas at this time. Lasers were directed at officers' eyes, which is unlawful.
Despite having moved from the closed area, demonstrators began to trickle back to Southwest 3rd Avenue, starting a large bonfire in the middle of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street 1 a.m.
During the dispersal, numerous business windows were shattered by members of the crowd. Officers made several arrests, including one at Southwest Main Street and Broadway, where a male fought with officers. Officers were able to get him in custody and recovered an illegally possessed loaded firearm and a knife.
PPB was only able to handle emergency calls only city-wide for several hours due to the need to deploy Officers downtown to assist with the riot. This impacted those requesting police service throughout the City. There was also a significant vehicle crash during the riot in North Portland involving a collision at a high rate of speed, numerous seriously injured persons, and an individual who had to be extracted from a vehicle (See prior release for details).
Between 1 and 2 a.m., some individuals launched fireworks, smoke bombs, and mortars at and near the Federal Courthouse. Crowd control munitions were deployed in the area.
The crowd continued to remain in the area and engage in riotous behaviors involving fireworks, lit fires, smashing windows, and targeting officers with dangerous projectiles. The closure area was extended to I-405 and Southwest 1 Avenue and Columbia to Burnside Streets.
Several officers sustained injuries throughout the night, mostly due to mortars and fireworks thrown at them by members of the crowd, which exploded on or near them.
Most of the crowd was dispersed by 4:30 a.m.
Information about those arrested is still being compiled and will be made available at a later time. Over a dozen individuals were arrested.
"This is the second time in a day a riot was declared in Downtown Portland due to the activities of many that put other's lives at risk; this is unacceptable," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "Our officers are tired, but they are resilient. They will continue to be available every night to protect our community members as they swore an oath to do. I hope community members can support these hard working individuals and denounce the violence that has been placed upon them by those who wish to riot. The violence we have witnessed is contrary to the values of our City and the thousands who are hoping to move forward with systemic change. Our community deserves better than nightly criminal activity that destroys the value and fabric of our community."