After an all-too brief hiatus from protests due to the wildfires ravaging Oregon, protesters are back, calling for the total abolition of police and prisons. On Thursday, Portland Police arrested 14 individuals for unlawfully gathering outside of the police union building in North Portland.
Portland Police declared the gathering unlawful at 10:30 pm and ordered everyone to leave the area. Protesters received warnings that they would be arrested or officers would use force if they did not vacate the area.
The group lit fire to a piece of plywood on the building’s front door. They tried to set an awning on fire, and hammered on the front door, attempting to break in.
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The police showed incredible restraint, arresting only those actively engaging in illegal activities, and then disengaging from the situation. Unfortunately, the protesters continued to linger in the area, despite repeated warnings to leave.
At 11:30 pm, a group of protesters climbed onto the roof of the building. At that point, more arrests were made. The group had fully dispersed by 1 am, and no crowd control efforts had to be used.
Throughout the evening, 14 individuals were arrested on charges of Arson, Disorderly Conduct, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Resisting Arrest, and Trespassing.
After Brief Hiatus, Portland Protests Back On
Portlanders have taken to the streets in protest yet again. They took place after a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for the killing of Breonna Taylor during a March 13 drug raid gone wrong. The only charges brought by the grand jury were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into Taylor’s neighbors’ homes.
Officers deemed Wednesday night’s protest a riot after three molotov cocktails were thrown at them. Demonstrators also threw rocks, fireworks, glass bottles, full soup cans, and paint at officers. Three officers suffered minor injuries, and 13 people were arrested.
Federal officers helped police to disperse the riot. They also shot impact munitions on downtown streets a half-mile away from the federal courthouse that President Trump pledged to protect.
Portland police said people outside of the Central Precinct on Wednesday threw rocks at the building. They shattered glass and used slingshots to launch items through broken windows. Police also claimed some people tried to enter the precinct.
Police Receive Criticism
Despite the ongoing riots often resorting to violence, building damage, and fires, Portland police have received criticism for officers’ use of force against protesters. Mayor Ted Wheeler banned the use of tear gas earlier in September. The result has been that the Oregon State Police and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office are reluctant to assist with crowd control in Portland.
In response to pressure for police reform, The Portland City Council voted to cut the police force budget. They also decided to end the bureau’s gun violence unit.
Mayor Ted Wheeler is proud of his continued budget cuts. He said, “This summer, I committed to reallocating $12 million in funds from PPB to support communities of color and implement reforms. That was in addition to approximately $15 million in reductions already announced by my administration earlier this year.”