Portland Police declare unlawful assembly at East Precinct
Protesters returned to the police station on the city’s east side for a late-night rally that began Thursday, Aug. 6.
Portland Police Bureau declared an unlawful assembly and officers made multiple arrests as demonstrators returned to the city’s eastern police station and set a trash can on fire — prompting a dispersal order that lasted for hours on Thursday night, Aug. 6.
The clash between perhaps 300 protesters and bands of officers wearing riot gear began around 9 p.m., near the East Precinct on Southeast 106th Avenue, but the black-clad rallygoers were pushed back blocks away to Stark and 113th as officers used smoke bombs, pepper spray and pepper balls at times, as well as puncturing the tires of a protest vehicle.
The clash came a day after protesters stormed the east police precinct building, blocked exits and started a fire. On Wednesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder.”
On Thursday, a man playing an acoustic guitar with an unlit cigarette clenched between his teeth had his guitar struck by a police munition as he strummed on, leaving a green residue on his instrument.
The musician said he had previously worn body armor to protests, but for the past two nights had brought nothing but music.
“I try to lift the spirits,” he said. “I thought, you know, maybe I’ll try coming out in a more de-escalatoratory way to raise morale.”
Not everyone in the neighborhood was pleased to see protests spread far from their previous epicenter downtown.
A half-dozen residents from the Mill Park area gathered outside the boarded-up East Precinct before the rally began. Many of their number left as the crowd formed, but one woman using a walker and holding a “BLM” sign for “Black Lives Matter” attempted to extinguish the trash fire, leading to much heated conversation.
“I need to make a stand for my neighborhood,” another man said, saying he had lived four blocks away for the past 20 years. “I’m not here to bust anyone’s head and I’m certainly not down here to get my head busted.”
Another nearby resident, Dan Damron, said he supports the Black Lives Matter movement but thought it had gotten “out of hand.
“When they start hurting property and damaging things, then it’s not right,” the 72-year-old said.
Protesters also clashed with residents of a trailer park, where one domicile was spray-painted after a woman reportedly appeared out of doors during the Wednesday night protest wearing a Nazi armband.
The number of arrests made by police was not immediately announced, but the cumulative total over 70 nights of demonstrations is now at least 600.
Officers were observed pushing legal observers during the protest and made several “bull-rush” style charges into the crowd at times.
Source: Portlandtribune / Zane Sparling