PORTLAND (AP) — Several people in Portland were arrested in anti-police brutality protests that continued into early Sunday, hours after demonstrations ended with few reports of violence. A total of 30 people were arrested in Saturday's various gatherings, officials said.
The protests that began Saturday night were declared an unlawful assembly and police began forcing demonstrators out after objects were thrown at officers, including full drink cans, firecrackers and rocks, police said.
Thirty people were arrested by officers working under the unified command related to various mass gatherings Saturday, they said. These arrests were made by law enforcement officers from Oregon State Police, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Portland Police Bureau.
Hundreds of people had gathered at demonstrations in the downtown area of Oregon’s largest city when the unlawful assembly was announced just before midnight.
Images showed protesters crowded in and around a park near the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse — the same courthouse that had been the scene of nightly unrest over the summer. A protester was seen burning an American flag.
Video posted by KOIN-TV showed officers warn that protesters who hurl projectiles will be subject to arrest.
One man broke away from officers and ran two blocks with his hands in zip-tie cuffs before he was recaptured by police. Police also seized bear spray, a baton and a drone in separate stops or arrests. The crowd had largely dispersed by early Sunday morning, police said.
The unrest came just hours after a right-wing rally and counter-protesters largely dispersed without serious violence Saturday afternoon, although police were investigating an assault after one person who was documenting the event was pushed to the ground and kicked in the face.
Separately, police said a criminal citation was issued after officials confiscated firearms, paintball guns, baseball bats and shields from a pick-up truck that was initially stopped for having obscured license plates as it left the rally.
Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton and Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese praised the minimal violence in a joint statement late Saturday.
“Our Unified Command worked well to prevent violence before it started,” Hampton said in the statement. “Law enforcement officers performed a number of traffic stops and took weapons off the streets.”
“On Saturday, Oregonians denounced hate, racism and violence,” Reese stated, adding that, “the Unified Command was able to help keep the peace.”
Several hundred people, dozens of them wearing militarized body armor, gathered to support President Donald Trump and his “law and order” reelection campaign Saturday afternoon. The attendance was far fewer than the 10,000 organizers had expected after tensions boiled over nationwide following the decision not to charge officers in Louisville, Kentucky, for killing Breonna Taylor.
Unified Command release on Saturday night demonstration in Downtown Portland
Multnomah Co. Sheriff's Office - 09/27/20 1:57 AM
After largely peaceful protests throughout the day Saturday, several hundred protesters gathered in Downtown Portland around 8:30 p.m. in Lownsdale and Chapman Square Parks. As the crowd grew, many gathered in the street at SW 3rd Avenue and SW Main Street, blocking the street near the Justice Center. The incident was still under the Unified Command of Oregon State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
Warnings were provided via loudspeaker to vacate the roadway because it was open to vehicular traffic. Despite multiple warnings, much of the group remained in the street.
Officers moved in and made several arrests. While making arrests and ticketing illegally parked vehicles, projectiles were thrown at officers including full beverages cans, firecrackers and rocks. At one point, an officer was attempting to load an arrested person into a transport van when another arrested person, Michael Colten, forced his way out. He ran while still restrained in zip-ties for about two blocks before he was recaptured by officers.
Officers attempted to disengage and leave the area multiple times in an effort to de-escalate, but each time as they retreated, individuals in the crowd threw projectiles at officers and re-entered the street. Officers made additional arrests.
At 10:29 p.m., officers stopped a vehicle associated with the demonstration in the area of SW 1st Avenue and SW Jefferson Street. A drone was seized from inside the vehicle.
Officers provided security during the traffic stop. As they began to disengage, many of the demonstrators moved back out into the lanes of travel. Officers again cleared the street. As they did this, officers were targeted by high-velocity objects, believed to be ball bearings launched from slingshots. These projectiles had the potential to cause serious injury.
At about 11:45 p.m., because of criminal activity witnessed, the crowd was notified by loudspeaker that the gathering was an unlawful assembly, and they were to leave the area to the west. They were warned that failure to adhere to the order may subject them to arrest, citation, or the use of crowd control agents including, but not limited to, impact weapons and/or tear gas.
Few, if any, individuals followed the order, so officers began physically moving the crowd away. The officers were pelted with additional rocks and other dangerous objects. Officers continued making arrests.
During one of the arrests, officers seized a can of bear spray and a baton.
While the majority of the crowd dispersed by 1:30 a.m. Sunday, a small group of hostile individuals remained. Individuals threw glass bottles at the direction of officers. Law enforcement officers performed several additional arrests in Chapman Square Park.
A list of charges and arrests will come at a later time.
Governor Kate Brown Stands Down Law Enforcement Joint Incident Command Structure for Portland
(Salem, OR) — Effective at 6:00 a.m., Governor Kate Brown rescinded her order creating a joint incident command structure for law enforcement in Portland, following the conclusion of planned demonstrations by white supremacist groups. The Governor ended the order after the successful coordination of city, county, and state law enforcement to keep simultaneous demonstrations separated, preventing violence and keeping Oregonians safe while protecting free speech.
“I would like to thank the law enforcement officers of the Oregon State Police, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, the Portland Police Bureau, and other local law enforcement agencies for their professionalism as they executed this plan to prevent confrontations and violence," said Governor Brown. “I would also like to thank Oregonians for not rising to the bait when the Proud Boys came from out of town to express their hateful views yesterday. When we all work together as a community to keep the peace, we can keep Oregonians safe while still allowing free expression under the First Amendment.”
The Governor's executive order rescinding the law enforcement joint incident command structure is available here.