Rioters Take Down Roosevelt, Lincoln Statues in Portland

October 12, 2020 Updated: October 13, 2020

Update: Two people have been charged.

Original story below.

Rioters in Portland on Oct. 11 toppled statues of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

The rampage in a portion of downtown also saw the criminals smash windows at Portland State University’s police office, the Oregon Historical Society, and a number of businesses.

“We have gotten reports of windows being broken in numerous buildings. The gathering has been declared a riot,” the Portland Police Bureau said around 10:30 p.m. local time.

Many people in the mob were dressed in all-black, wearing masks that obscured their face, in a style favored by the far-left, anarcho-communist Antifa network. Several known Antifa members were present. The PNW Youth Liberation Front, an Antifa-linked group, wrote on social media: “hey portland. THAT is how we [expletive] do it. didn’t that feel wonderful?”

Video footage showed rioters using chains and harnesses to pull the Roosevelt statue off its pedestal to the ground. Police had said that some people were trying to pull down a statue with a chain.

Epoch Times Photo
People stand near the toppled statue of President Theodore Roosevelt during a riot in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 11, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
A sticker calling for the abolition of the Portland Police Bureau is affixed to the toppled statue of President Theodore Roosevelt during a riot in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 11, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

The “Rough Rider” bronze statue depicted Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, on top of a horse. It was donated to the city by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe after its completion in 1922.

The Lincoln statue was in the same area, Southwest Park Avenue and Southwest Madison Street. It showed Lincoln on foot, looking down. The statue was also donated by Coe.

A Black Lives Matter group, the Portland Sound Bloc, said the statue of Lincoln was toppled “because it was Lincoln who ordered the largest mass execution in American history.”

The riot was dubbed the “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage” by organizers.

After toppling the statues, the crowd smashed windows at the Oregon Historical Society, a Wells Fargo branch, and a small business called Heroes American Cafe.

“So sad. The damage at the park with the statues being removed, damaged over there, and the damage here, this is not what Oregon is all about,” Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the society, told KOIN-TV.

Epoch Times Photo
A woman pulls a quilt from the display case inside the Oregon Historical Society during a riot in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 11, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
A sign informing visitors of a temporary bank branch closure hangs from a window broken during a riot in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 11, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

John Jackson, the cafe’s owner, said: “To the business owners and the people, hang in there. We are all in this together. This type of violence makes no sense. It only hurts the small guys like myself. We are just here providing a service to the community.”

Tymchuk of Oregon Historical Society said in a letter to members, friends, and supporters on Oct. 12, “We are deeply saddened and hurt by the destruction of property.” A spokesperson said the society didn’t yet have an estimate of the damages.

“We understand the significance and importance of the messages fueling the protests that have been taking place in our city and across the nation these past few months, as evidenced by much of our work during recent years,” Tymchuk said in the letter, adding later, “As we clean up broken glass, scrub paint, and make plans to ensure safety in our building, we also, as always, welcome critique of our work.”

A Portland State University spokesman told The Epoch Times via email that the windows and front door of the school’s public safety office were damaged. “No one was hurt, and the damage was cleaned up Monday,” he said.

A spokesman for Mayor and Police Commissioner Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

It wasn’t clear if any arrests were made.

Few pictures and videos were available from the scene. Organizers of the event had urged people not to film what happened. Even credentialed press have increasingly avoided snapping pictures that show the faces of rioters, after being threatened in recent months.

The police and independent reporter Andy Ngo would be “[angry] there were no cameras tonight,” the Liberation Front said on Twitter. “Proof of what we’ve been telling y’all for a moment: less cameras, safer protests.”

Ngo responded: “That Portland self-identified video journalists followed Antifa instructions to not record a pre-planned violent criminal riot tonight tells you what you need to know about the previous information coming from those sources. They prioritize protecting Antifa over truth.”

Epoch Times Photo
People flee from police officers during a riot in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 11, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
Police detain passengers of a van linked to rioting, in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 11, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Unrest in Portland started in late May and has continued nearly every night since, except for a two-week period when wildfires were looming.

The Portland Police Bureau spent nearly $7 million on overtime alone in June and July as officers struggled to respond to the protests and riots and maintain normal police functions.

“The Bureau strongly supports free speech rights, and we encourage citizens to protest peacefully. But we have a responsibility to respond to criminal activity and violence, and it’s regrettable that this money couldn’t be spent on other important community priorities,” Sgt. Kevin Allen, a police spokesman, told The Epoch Times in an email last week.

The Department of Justice last month declared Portland a jurisdiction that permits anarchy, violence, and property destruction because of policies and measures put in place by city and county officials, including the cutting of $15 million from the police bureau’s budget.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has rejected 666 charges referred by police officers who made arrests, in part because of a new policy that sees prosecutors presumptively decline to pursue charges in some cases.

A spokesman for the district attorney said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times on Oct. 12: “When we receive the police reports from law enforcement regarding any arrests made last night and over the weekend, we will review each of them to make a charging determination. I am unaware, at the moment, of how many arrests were made Sunday night and whether any of the arrests were for toppling the statues or breaking into the businesses.”

Vandals in Portland toppled a statue of America’s first president, George Washington, in June. No one has been arrested for that crime.

Local officials have repeatedly refused offers of assistance from President Donald Trump’s administration in dealing with the mayhem.

Trump on Oct. 12 shared a video of Oct. 11’s riot on Twitter, writing: “The Radical Left fools in Portland don’t want any help from real Law Enforcement which we will provide instantaneously. Vote!”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber