PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police and protesters in Portland have clashed for the second night in a row and the city’s police chief says the ongoing violence is harming the city’s image.
The high-profile clashes outside a U.S. courthouse in Portland have largely stopped since Democratic Gov. Kate Brown reached a deal that called for the draw down of federal agents sent by the Trump administration to protect the building.
But the turmoil on the streets has continued miles away from the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, as demonstrators rallying to defund the local police force get into confrontations with officers late at night. Police respond by declaring the events riots — allowing them to use tear gas and other non-lethal efforts to disperse the crowds.
Officers Wednesday night clashed with protesters outside the East Precinct station six miles from the courthouse after they removed what they initially believed was an explosive device but later determined was not explosive.
Police said the protesters started a fire, spray painted over security cameras, shined green lasers and other lights at officers. Several media outlets reported that protesters pulled away plywood covering the front doors of the precinct building and slammed them with rocks and other objects.
In protests that started Tuesday night and lasted into early Wednesday morning, officers made three arrests after demonstrators set fires, erected barricades in a street and tried to break into the police union headquarters, Portland media outlets reported.
Police said someone also fired a gun during that night of unrest and that a pickup truck accelerated into the crowd while pushing an unoccupied motorcycle in front of it.
No one was injured in either incident. Police have interviewed the driver of the truck but so far have made no arrests. Police did not use tear gas during the demonstration.
Meanwhile, city officials said they are starting to monitor for any potential long-term pollution from tear gas that was released by federal agents night after night near the courthouse before those protests ended last week in an area about a mile from the Willamette River.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell, who is Black, said he was concerned that the national attention on the protests and the resources needed to police them were hurting what he called the “beautiful, vibrant city” of Portland. Police have arrested more than 400 people since late May, he said. U.S. agents arrested at least 94 people on federal charges through July 30.
Read more at: https://apnews.com/fb31ec6945645730baddd5d67bbfce1f