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Portland police arrest 4 as nightly protests, violence continue

Portland officer struck concrete 815
Portland Police Bureau
Chunk of concrete that hit Portland police offcer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Four people were arrested overnight in Portland as police dispersed a protest that was headed toward the offices of the police union, authorities said Saturday.

The Portland Police Bureau declared the demonstration of a couple hundred people an unlawful assembly Friday night, saying people were throwing fireworks, golf balls and chunks of concrete at officers. Officers said they used crowd control munitions but no CS tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Some of the protesters carried heavy wooden shields and wore gas masks and other protective gear, authorities said.

Demonstrations, often violent, have happened nightly in Oregon’s biggest city for more than two months following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Participants have repeatedly broken into the offices of the Portland Police Association, vandalized them and set fires.

Police said that one officer suffered minor injuries after being repeatedly punched in the head and another from being struck by a stick, bat or other object. The four arrests were for investigation of charges that included assault on an officer, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.

Police said they disengaged as the crowd dwindled in an attempt to further deescalate the situation, but a small group nevertheless vandalized the union headquarters early Saturday.

Protests in Portland last month outside the federal courthouse saw demonstrators clashing with federal agents dispatched to the city to protect the facility.

The demonstrations shrank after a drawdown of the agents, who were replaced by Oregon state troopers. But protests turned violent again over the last week, mostly near a police union headquarters building miles from the federal courthouse.

Portland Police Bureau news release:

Protest Blocks Streets, Officers Assaulted, Pelted With Rocks, Glass Bottles, Other Objects (Photo)
Portland Police Bureau - 08/15/20 4:32 AM

In the evening hours of August 14, 2020, a group of a couple hundred people gathered in Peninsula Park at 700 North Rosa Parks Way. Around 9:20 p.m., the group left the park and began marching westbound on North Ainsworth Street. As the group marched, several support vehicles followed, blocking vehicular traffic. The lead marchers held heavy wooden shields. Many in the crowd were wearing helmets, gas masks, and other protective gear.

Around 9:30 p.m., the group marching had blocked all traffic on North Ainsworth Street. As the group approached North Maryland Avenue, public address announcements were made instructing the group to exit the street, or they would be subject to arrest or use of force. Despite the announcements, the group continued to stay in the street, but move southbound towards North Killingsworth Street. Around 10 p.m., the group reached the area of North Killingsworth Street and North Albina Avenue. Once again, public address announcements were made instructing the group to exit the street.

Police learned that the march was likely proceeding to the offices of the Portland Police Association (PPA) in the 1800 Block of North Lombard Street. During multiple previous demonstrations, individuals broke into the PPA office and lit arson fires, in addition to committing burglary, theft, and vandalism.

In order to avoid a repeat of those past events, Officers positioned themselves to block the marchers access to the PPA office. Some members of the group began launching paintballs and other projectiles at officers. Due to the ongoing criminal behavior, an unlawful assembly was declared. Public address announcements were made to the group notifying them the gathering had been deemed an unlawful assembly and they needed to disperse immediately. If the group did not disperse immediately, they were subject to citation or arrest, as well as subject to the use of tear gas, crowd control munitions, or impact weapons. Despite several public address announcements, the group continued to stand in the street and throw projectiles towards officers. Around 10:20 p.m., officers began dispersing the crowd.

Over the course of several hours, parts of the group and continued to block streets and throw projectiles at officers. Officers dispersed them in different directions. There was also a minor injury traffic crash caused by a driver who was unaware of the street blockage.

As officers dispersed the crowd, individuals launched commercial grade fireworks, golf balls, large river rock, palm sized chunks of concrete (see attached photo), glass bottles, and ball bearings from sling shots at officers. One officer was punched in the head multiple times, causing minor injury, and the suspect was arrested. Another officer was struck by an object, possibly a stick or bat, and suffered a minor injury. Green lasers were shined in officers' eyes. Several people with "press" affixed to them shined flashlights in officers eyes. Multiple dumpster fires were set in traffic intersections. Some of the fires were set close enough to traffic that several cars had to swerve to miss them.

At one point the marchers started toward North Precinct at 449 Northeast Emerson Street, but officers blocked their path. North Precinct, a working community policing center, has also been the scene of multiple arson fires.

The crowd size thinned considerably, so officers disengaged in an attempt to deescalate. A smaller group marched to the PPA office and committed some acts of vandalism. By 3:45a.m., most of the protesters left the area.

During this event, crowd control munitions were used by police, but no CS gas was deployed.

There were 4 arrests made. All were booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on the listed charges:

Phillip J. Wenzel, 31, unknown residence, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Resist Arrest, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree

Trevor W. Smith, 45, of Portland, Attempted Assaulting a Public Safety Officer

Raymond H. Kennedy, 26, of Portland, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Resist Arrest, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree

Joshua M. Warner, 25, of Portland, Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree

### PPB ###

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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