Portland police officers clashed with violent demonstrators overnight as unrest continued in Oregon’s largest city with no signs of letting up.
Mobs gather on a nightly basis in Portland to assault the Justice Center, a city building that includes a police precinct, and the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse. They turned their attention on Monday night to the Portland police union’s building.
People in the crowd hurled projectiles at officers, including frozen water bottles and metal ball bearings, the Portland Police Bureau said, and someone tried lighting a mattress on fire.
Officers declared a riot and fired tear gas after the groups didn’t disperse.
“Members of the crowd are still not dispersing despite numerous orders to leave and opportunities to do so,” the bureau said around 1 a.m. Pacific Time.
Officers arrested a number of people.
Unrest has plagued Portland since late May, causing $23 million in damage and lost business. City officials have struggled to manage the mayhem. Because the courthouse is a federal building, federal troops have challenged the mobs and arrested at least eight people, including a Texas man accused of assaulting a U.S. Marshal with a four-pound construction hammer over the weekend.
Jacob Michael Gaines, 23, who was residing in a vehicle in Portland, was arrested and charged after striking the law enforcement officer three times.
“While being struck, the deputy managed to hold onto Gaines while other officers handcuffed him and placed him under arrest,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon said in a statement.
Violence against the group has been criticized by many officials, who spoke out after a man in the crowd was injured.
The U.S. Marshals Service said it was investigating the shooting of a round at a protester who was captured on video hurling a canister an officer threw back towards a group of officers.
Donavan La Bella, 26, required facial reconstructive surgery, his mother told The Oregonian.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, said in a statement that he was “concerned that the actions of federal officers last night escalated, rather than de-escalated, already heightened tensions in our city.”
“We are now more than a month and a half into witnessing nightly violence on our streets. Portland continues to be used as a staging ground for violence night after night,” he said.
Wheeler said he put into place restrictions on local police, including limiting the use of CS gas, to stop the violence, and called on the federal government to adhere to the restrictions.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement that the injury was the result of President Donald Trump “unilaterally dispatching federal law enforcement into U.S. cities.”
“Trump and Homeland Security must now answer why federal officers are acting like an occupying army,” he said.
And Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said the events “were the tragic and avoidable result of President Donald Trump, for weeks, continuing to push for force and violence in response to protests.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon said last week in announcing seven arrests that the federal courthouse “has been a repeated target of vandalism, sustaining extensive damage.”
Federal officers working to protect the building “have been subjected to threats; aerial fireworks including mortars; high intensity lasers targeting officers’ eyes; thrown rocks, bottles, and balloons filled with paint from demonstrators while performing their duties,” the office said.