Portland police move in quickly, declare riot as fires set outside union headquarters: Key takeaways


Published by OREGONLIVE.COM

Summary generated on August 25, 2020


    A march on the Portland police union headquarters drew a rapid police response Monday night after someone set a fire next to the building.

    Officers arrived at the Portland Police Association building minutes after protesters and declared the gathering an unlawful assembly as some in the crowd spray-painted the building and someone climbed on the roof to unfurl a banner.

    About 60 seconds later, police declared a riot as the fire outside the building became visible.

    Police later said a second fire had also been lit at the rear of the building.

    Officers deployed tear gas to scatter the crowd and ultimately arrested 25 people.

    EARLY ON: About 300 people set off from Arbor Lodge Park on Monday night, marching to the police union building on North Lombard Street.

    Upon arrival, some demonstrators went to the back of the union building.

    Power to the building was cut off, according to police, and flames went up the side of the building.

    Police declared a riot, citing "Extreme life safety concerns," and said someone appeared to pour an accelerant on the fire, which rapidly grew.

    Police dispersed the crowd and arrested multiple people.

    POLICE REOPEN STREET, ATTEMPT TO LEAVE: Dozens of police surrounded the Portland Police Association building after protesters mostly moved away.

    Police removed barricades that were blocking traffic, and bewildered drivers found themselves between armored officers raising crowd-control weapons and shouting protesters, some of whom threw objects that included water bottles and shined lasers at police.

    Police briefly left the area but returned after an awning was set on fire and another blaze was lit at the union building.

    Police departed shortly after midnight, again deploying tear gas as they drove off.

    OVER TWO-DOZEN ARRESTED: Police arrested 25 people during the demonstration.

    Those arrested were booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on suspicion of charges including interfering with a peace officer, rioting and disorderly conduct.

    Monday also marked the second consecutive demonstration in which police arrested about two-dozen people.

    Officers arrested 23 people during a demonstration Sunday night in Northeast Portland.

    PRESS SCRUTINIZED: Officers at times vocally cast doubt on some in the crowd who claimed to be press.

    A police officer also closely examined the press identification produced by a photojournalist for The Oregonian/OregonLive.

    A judge's order in a recent lawsuit bars police from arresting or using force on journalists for failing to disperse during an unlawful assembly.

    Who qualifies as press, and how officers are supposed to identify them, has been a point of contention in the case.

    Police said people with "press" printed on their clothes threw rocks at officers during the protest and that one of the rocks cracked the windshield of a police vehicle.

    WISCONSIN SHOOTING: Monday's march was the first after the day police in Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, multiple times from behind as he tried to enter a vehicle.

    In the footage, Blake walks from the sidewalk around the front of his SUV to his driver-side door as officers follow him with their guns pointed and shout at him.

    As Blake opens the door and leans into the SUV, an officer grabs his shirt from behind and opens fire while Blake has his back turned.

    Seven shots can be heard, though it isn't clear how many struck Blake or how many of the officers fired.

    Protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear Sunday night, while Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden condemned the shooting.

    SUSPECT IN CUSTODY: A 25-year-old man surrendered to police Friday in the beating of another man caught on video during a confrontation that unfolded near a downtown Portland demonstration the weekend before.

    Marquise Love turned himself in and was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center, police said.