Seattle PD also arrest 13; Portland denies Proud Boys permit for Saturday rally
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say rioters hurled Molotov cocktails at officers during a demonstration over a Kentucky grand jury’s decision to not indict officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. Thirteen people were arrested.
Police in a statement say the protesters Wednesday night also threw rocks that shattered windows at a law enforcement precinct station. One officer was hit on the foot with a Molotov cocktail but a fire department medic managed to extinguish the flames.
Federal agents assigned to protect the U.S. courthouse in Portland fired projectiles at the protesters, the Oregonian/Oregonian Live reported.
Police declared a crowd in front of the city’s police headquarters a riot late Wednesday night as demonstrators assembled to protest a Kentucky grand jury’s decision not to indict police officers on criminal charges directly related to the death of Breonna Taylor.
Police first declared the crowd an unlawful gathering at around 10 p.m. Wednesday before upgrading it to a riot.
Videos showed police using smoke and munitions to clear the area. Other videos showed a small fire burning on the awning of the police building, and officers in riot gear running away from what appeared to be an incendiary device that was launched toward them.
In downtown Portland, the site of months of demonstrations against police brutality, several hundred people held a rally in the rain in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center, the Oregonian/Oregonlive.com reported.
A drum line played in rhythm with chants of “Whose life mattered? Breonna Taylor!”
Several Black women addressed the crowd and encouraged people to vote and continue pressing for change, the newspaper reported.
Police in Seattle also arrested 13 people as authorities said people smashed windows and spray painted buildings as protesters marched through parts of the city following a Kentucky grand jury’s decision to not indict officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Police said multiple officers were injured and one was struck in the head with a baseball bat, cracking his helmet. KOMO reports people were arrested for on charges including resisting arrest, property destruction and refusing to disperse.
Earlier Wednesday, the city of Portland denied a permit for a Saturday rally planned by the right-wing group Proud Boys.
The Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau said the group's estimated crowd size of 10,000 people was too big under coronavirus safety measures.
The rally had been moved from downtown Portland to Delta Park in north Portland to accommodate what the Proud Boys called a “battalion of patriots." Left-wing groups plan several events to oppose the Proud Boys.
Delta Park was built on the ruins of a historic community, Vanport, that was home for many Black families until it flooded in 1948.
Update: 13 Arrested During Riot
Portland Police Bureau - 09/24/20 10:12 AM
A mass gathering devolved into a riot after individuals broke windows, vandalized and lit fires to the Justice Center, and threw Molotov cocktails towards officers.
On September 23, 2020, a group began by gathering at Chapman Square Park located in the 1100 block of Southwest 3rd Avenue. The group spilled in to the street, blocking vehicular traffic on Southwest 3rd Avenue for several hours. During this time, the group of nearly 300 people stood outside the Justice Center on Southwest 3rd Avenue.
Around 9:45 p.m., a group of nearly 75 people began gathering on the Central Precinct side of the Justice Center located in the 1100 block of Southwest 2nd Avenue. The group stood in the street blocking vehicular traffic on Southwest 2nd Avenue. Members in the group began throwing softball sized rocks towards Central Precinct which shattered the glass windows above the entry doors. The group continued to throw rocks through the windows which continued to shatter glass in the entryway of Central Precinct making it difficult for officers to safely exit the precinct due to the glass falling and the glass that covered the entryway floor. Once the window was broken, group members used slingshots to launch projectiles at a high velocity through the broken glass windows of Central Precinct. Some members of the group attempted to break into the front doors of the Central Precinct lobby.
Due to the ongoing criminal behavior and vandalism to the precinct, an unlawful assembly was declared and all persons were told over loudspeaker to immediately leave the area and the street. Failure to adhere to the order would subject them to arrest, citation, or the use of crowd control agents including, but not limited to, impact weapons and/or OC munitions (Oleoresin Capsicum).
Even though the group was told to exit the area and the street, they still stood of outside Central Precinct and continued their criminal behavior. At 10:06 p.m., officers began to disperse the crowd blocking Southwest 2nd Avenue outside of Central Precinct. As officers dispersed the crowd, both commercial grade fireworks and glass bottles were thrown towards them.
Around 10:16 p.m., the group returned to the area of Central Precinct and the north side of the Justice Center was lit on fire. Out of concern that the fire could spread, causing an extreme life safety concern, the incident was declared a riot. All persons were told over loudspeaker to immediately leave the area and the street. Failure to adhere to the order would subject them to arrest, citation, or the use of crowd control agents including, but not limited to, impact weapons and/or OC munitions (Oleoresin Capsicum).
Group members continued to block traffic in the streets and throw full soup cans towards officers. Green lasers, which cause permanent damage to vision, were shined at officers situated in the sound truck. Officers began to disperse the crowd outside of Central Precinct again and a Molotov cocktail was thrown towards officers striking one in the foot. A Portland Fire Medic was nearby and able to extinguish the flames. Had this incendiary not been stopped immediately, it could have caused serious physical injury to the officer. A second Molotov cocktail was thrown towards officers near Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street, and a third Molotov cocktail was thrown at officers near Southwest Broadway and Southwest Main Street. As the crowd was dispersed they aggressively threw rocks at officers and other projectiles. Because of serious life safety issues caused by the Molotov cocktails, the area of Southwest Naito Parkway to Southwest Broadway Street was closed from Southwest Columbia Street to Southwest Harvey Milk Street. The group was given this information over loudspeaker.
Although the group was told the area was closed, they continued to stay in the area and eventually headed back towards the Justice Center. As the group approached the Justice Center, a larger closure area was enacted to include Southwest Naito Parkway to Southwest 14th Avenue. The group was advised of this over loudspeaker and told once again to leave the area immediately. Officers once again dispersed the crowd that returned to the area and were hit with projectiles such as rocks and paint.
Around 12:11 a.m., a group of nearly 75 people returned to Chapman Square Park. Eventually the group gathered at Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest Madison Street before dispersing around 1:30 a.m.
During the response, officers used some crowd control munitions. Three officers suffered minor injuries during dispersals.
Officers made 13 arrests.
"I am glad we were able to make arrests and hold people accountable for the reprehensible acts of violence," said Chief Chuck Lovell.