Portland police clash with rioters as they descend on far east precinct for first time in ‘coordinated attack’

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Portland police were forced to declare a riot for the second time in as many nights on Wednesday after scores of black-clad Antifa-linked vandals attacked the east precinct building and attempted to light it on fire.

For months, raucous anti-police demonstrations that often turned violent have taken place in downtown Portland following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police in May.

And in recent weeks, Antifa-linked protesters and their allies focused attention on federal agents guarding the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse.

But over the past few days after Oregon officials made a deal for federal agents to remain inside the courthouse, rioters have begun targeting the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff buildings again, Oregon Live reported.

Following the 70th straight day of violence and destructive behavior, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said that demonstrators who are “dedicated to just provoking a police response” drain resources from an overstretched department, adding it “needs to stop.”

The chief said he has sent mobile units of officers to protect the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in the Penumbra Kelly Building in Southeast Portland and the police union office in North Portland.

Meanwhile, Portland police have documented 99 shootings in July alone, up from just 35 last year, the news outlet reported. In addition, police said there were 15 homicides last month as well, the largest number of killings in a single month in about 30 years.

Portland officers are under orders to remain largely out of sight at demonstrations, but they are forced to respond when protesters attempt to vandalize or break into buildings.

“Enough is enough,’’ Lovell said. “This is not forwarding the goals” of Black Lives Matter, he added.

He also said it’s one thing to vocalize against inequities and injustices, but “if you’re trying to burn, burglarize buildings or throw Molotov cocktails, rocks or other things that injure officers … to me, there’s no message there.”

On Wednesday, about 100 people gathered near the Portland Police East Precinct building around 9 p.m. local time after they marched a short distance from Floyd Light Park chanting, “No good cops in a racist system!”

About 15 minutes after the crowd arrived near the station, police ordered “peaceful” demonstrators to disperse as others began to engage in criminal behavior.

Some of the illegal activity and police response was documented by independent journalist Andy Ngo, who said it was the first time that the east precinct building had been attacked.

Around 9:45 p.m., police declared the assembly unlawful and ordered everyone to disperse. At that, some women clad in yellow t-shirts — which symbolize mothers — linked arms and began chanting, “Black Lives Matter.”

“Police arrived 10 minutes later and forced the crowd to move. Officers in riot gear set off stun grenades as they pressed people north past the fire and precinct. Officers also released some sort of irritant into the air. Police detained at least four people,” Oregon Live reported.

After most people had been dispersed, police noted that charred traces of a fire started near the entrance of the precinct building were evident. Officers warned journalists and others remaining in the area to move back after discovering what they first believed was an explosive device.

Portland and state police officers continued engaging pockets of protesters until after midnight, Oregon Live noted further.

Against the backdrop of ongoing violence, several civil lawsuits are pending against the Portland Police Bureau and federal officers alleging they used excessive force indiscriminately against people protesting peacefully.


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