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Portland rioters smash City Hall windows, 23 arrested

Portland City Hall smashed windows 825
Portland Police Bureau
Rioters smashed windows at Portland City Hall

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Rioters in Portland smashed windows at City Hall in a demonstration that started Tuesday night and stretched into Wednesday morning, and police made 23 arrests as they dispersed the crowd in Oregon’s largest city, officials said.

Demonstrators in the crowd of about 150 also threw bottles and eggs at police, put metal bars in the street to try to damage police vehicles and smashed a security camera on the City Hall building, police said in a statement. The statement said officers used “crowd control munitions” in response but did not say what kind.

The violence came a day after protesters Monday night repeatedly set fire to a police union headquarters building and were repelled by officers spraying tear gas, officials said. Twenty-five people were arrested amid clashes that stretched into Tuesday morning.

Portland has been gripped by nightly protests for nearly three months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Demonstrations, often violent, have targeted police buildings and federal buildings. Some protesters have called for reductions in police budgets while the city’s mayor and some in the Black community have decried the violence, saying it is counterproductive.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump renewed calls to have Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler call in the state’s National Guard.

“They must stop calling these anarchists and agitators ‘peaceful protestors’. Come back into the real world! The Federal Government is ready to end this problem immediately upon your request,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Brown responded on Twitter to Trump’s demand, calling it “political theater.”

In July, the federal government sent agents to protect federal property in downtown Portland. Crowds grew into the thousands and agents repeatedly clashed with people over a two-week period, deployed tear gas and arrested people they said were hurling objects and trying to hurt agents and damage property.

The agents pulled back from a visible presence downtown, but it’s unclear how many remained in Portland, under an agreement in which the Oregon State Police would be deployed to downtown. The State Police left after the agreed-upon two-week monitoring period.

Portland Police Bureau news release:

Fire, Criminal Trespassing, and Vandalism Lead to Riot Declaration Outside of City Hall
Portland Police Bureau - 08/26/20 2:43 AM

After several individuals broke windows and entered City Hall in Downtown Portland unlawfully, a fire was lit outside of the building, prompting a declaration of a riot and multiple arrests.
The group, roughly 150 people, began a march from Shemanski Park located in the 1000 block of Southwest Park Avenue about 9:30 p.m. The group walked directly to City Hall in the 1200 block of Southwest 4th Avenue. Many in the crowd carried shields, wore helmets, gas masks, and body armor.

Within minutes of the crowd arriving, people blocked vehicular traffic on Southwest 4th Avenue and were seen spray painting and vandalizing City Hall. Crowd members were seen entering City Hall and breaking windows that were not covered up by boards. Others were seen smashing security features on the building including a surveillance camera. Once crowd members had breached the doors to City Hall, several people entered the closed building, including those with "press" affixed to their person. Due to the seriousness of the crowd's criminal behavior, the incident commander determined that the event was an unlawful assembly.

Warnings were issued over loudspeaker advising the crowd that failure to leave will subject them to arrest and/or the use of crowd control munitions including but not limited to tear gas and impact weapons. The crowd was directed to leave the area to the south and west. After the crowd was advised to leave several times, most members stayed. Since the crowd did not leave, officers moved in and began to disperse the crowd. During the dispersal, several arrests were made.
As most of the crowd was moved away, and to reduce the intensity of the situation, officers disengaged. More warnings were issued to those still in the area that the event was an unlawful assembly and they needed to disperse.

Almost immediately people began to return. Members of the group were seen attempting to smash windows on City Hall on the Southwest 5th Avenue side. Warnings were continually announced over the loudspeaker that the gathering was still an unlawful assembly. As the sound truck made these announcements, green lasers were shined in their eyes.

At 11:10 p.m., a man was seen igniting an aerosol can while spraying it towards City Hall in an attempt to set the building on fire. At the time of the fire, site security guards were working inside the building. Due to the extreme life safety concerns of those working inside the building, the incident commander determined that it was a riot. Warnings letting the crowd know the gathering was declared a riot were made over the loudspeaker and if they did not leave they were subject to arrest, citation, and the use of crowd control munitions including, but not limited to, tear gas and impact weapons. Once again the crowd was told to disperse to the south and west.

Officers began to disperse the crowd and more arrests were made. Members of the group put rebar ties in the road in an effort to pop police car tires. A bus stop shelter was shattered by protestors. Officers were hit with projectiles such as eggs and bottles. A blue laser was shined in the eyes of an officer three times. This blue laser in particular can heat paper so hot that it will make it smoke within 3 seconds. Several members of the group were seen blocking vehicular traffic with rental scooters.

Officers again disengaged in an effort to reduce the intensity of the situation, however, the group again returned to City Hall. The group was once again reminded the event had been declared a riot by loudspeaker. Officers returned to the area and began making targeted arrests. Several more arrests were made during this time.

During the event, and after numerous warnings were given, Portland Police used crowd control munitions. CS (tear) gas was not used by the Portland police.

Around 1:30 a.m., most of the participants left the area and vehicular traffic was restored.

Several arrests were made, including a person who had "press" affixed to them, for burglary 2. 23 adults were arrested and booked and 2 juveniles were detained.

Those arrested were booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges including disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer and resisting arrest. Some were charged with burglary or trespass, and one with unlawful directing of light from a laser pointer.

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