State Watch

Portland police declare riot for second straight night

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Police in Portland, Ore., declared a riot late Wednesday for the second consecutive night after a crowd of about 200 protesters vandalized an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, set fires and threw rocks at federal officers positioned at the building. 

The city has now seen 84 straight days of protests in the wake of the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Wednesday also reportedly marked the first time in weeks that federal officers clashed with demonstrators. 

Portland police said in a statement that roughly 200 people gathered before marching to the downtown ICE building. The department said an unlawful assembly was declared by 10 p.m. because the crowd blocked traffic, shined lasers at federal officers inside the building and sprayed graffiti on its exterior. Police said protesters also shattered several windows.

After protesters refused to leave the area, “officers began to disperse the crowd,” police said, adding that they warned demonstrators they would be subject to tear gas, crowd control munitions or impact weapons. Police claimed that protesters tossed rocks and glass bottles at federal officers after they exited the ICE building, prompting the department to declare the gathering a riot. 

Federal officers exited the ICE building in an effort to push protesters away from the building and onto the street, The Oregonian reported. After several attempts to push the crowd back, law enforcement began using stun guns and gas around midnight to disperse the crowd. However, it was unclear which agency used the crowd control munitions and gas. 

“Officers sustained some minor injuries due to the rocks thrown at them. Crowd control munitions and CS gas were used during dispersals,” Portland police said in a statement.

Two people were arrested and charged with interfering with a peace officer and disorderly conduct during the protest. They were booked in Multnomah County Detention Center, police said. 

Police declared a riot Tuesday after protesters threw rocks and smashed windows at some county government buildings. 

Portland became the source of national attention in July after the Trump administration deployed federal officers to the city in an effort to protect federal property. Protesters and officers frequently clashed outside a federal courthouse, with law enforcement repeatedly using tear gas and other munitions against the crowds. 

Federal agencies’ actions were also subject to added scrutiny over reports that officers in military fatigues were detaining people and placing them into unmarked vans.

Local officials denounced the presence of federal agents in the city, claiming they were causing far more harm than good. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) in late July reached an agreement with the administration for federal tactical teams to withdraw from the city. A federal presence in certain parts of the city has remained, however.

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