Rioters Assault Police Officers in Portland, 24 Arrested

Rioters Assault Police Officers in Portland, 24 Arrested
Police arrest a person during the dispersal of an unlawful assembly at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Portland, Ore., Sept. 18, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

Rioters in Portland on Monday assaulted police officers using rocks and other hard objects.

Portland Police Bureau officers observed around 8:45 p.m. people gathering with shields, body armor, and helmets at Kenton Park, near the building of the Portland Police Association, a police union.

Because many such gatherings have turned violent since late May, officers moved into the park and seized “numerous shields,” the bureau said in an incident summary.

While conducting the operation, some people in the crowd interfered and were arrested.

Around the same time, officers conducted a traffic stop after a driver was seen driving dangerously. The markings on the vehicle signaled it was being used as an amateur medic transport, which are common at protests and riots in Portland.

Officers found a loaded handgun in the vehicle and cited the driver, Jason Dye, 40, of Portland, with driving without insurance, failing to signal a turn, and failing to properly use a seatbelt. The investigation into the gun is ongoing.

Officers disengaged from the park, continuing to walk away even as people hurled water bottles at them.

Law enforcement told the crowd they could demonstrate in the park but lacked a permit to march in the street. The crowd then walked on the sidewalk to the association offices, which have repeatedly been set on fire by rioters in recent months.

“Individuals operating within large scale demonstrations have burglarized the building, set arson fires, cut the power to the building, broke windows, and caused other destruction. Several of those incidents devolved into riots where officers were forced to deploy tear gas and other munitions to move the violent and destructive crowd away,” the bureau said.

This time, as the crowd approached, they were told the sidewalk in front of the building was closed and warned to stay off the street.

“While in the past, in an effort to deescalate, incident commanders have allowed demonstrations to block the street, it has not proved to be an effective strategy for preventing violence and arson,” the bureau said.

When several people moved into the street, they were arrested.

Rioters violently tried intervening in the arrests while others threw rocks at the officers. One punched a sergeant in the face. Five other officers were sprayed with some kind of chemical. Video footage from the ground appeared to show a member of the crowd using a chemical against officers while another appeared to show fireworks launched by rioters strike an officer in the head.

A female protester is loaded into a van after being arrested while rallying near the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 26, 2020. (Allison Dinner/AP Photo)
A female protester is loaded into a van after being arrested while rallying near the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 26, 2020. (Allison Dinner/AP Photo)

Officers told the crowd to disperse or face arrest and crowd control.

Twenty-four people were arrested, including one who threw a baseball bat at officers as he tried running away.

Most of those arrested have Portland addresses. Two hail from Beaverton, Oregon, about seven miles west of Portland.

During the aftermath, a homeowner asked police officers how they see the ongoing unrest ending.

“So you’re asking how do we end it? It’s got to be citizen and political will,” one responded.

“Is there a way we can take you guys out of having to be in this position,” the homeowner said.

“If they were not out here, we wouldn’t be out here, and if people liked our Trump government a lot more, we probably wouldn’t have this issue in the first place. But there’s a lot of contention with the federal government,” the officer said.

“We know it’s going to run all the way until at least the election. This could run all the way to the inauguration,” another officer said.

The homeowner then responded, saying: “So it could run all the way until cops stop killing black people. Which, maybe you haven’t...”

“When’s the last time in Portland?” one officer said.

The woman was unable to answer.