[News] Federal and Local Police Team Up in Aggressive Response to Day 50 of Portland Protests

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Sun Jul 19 13:50:47 EDT 2020


https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/07/18/28652209/federal-and-local-police-team-up-in-aggressive-response-to-night-50-of-portland-protests
Federal
and Local Police Team Up in Aggressive Response to Day 50 of Portland
Protests
Wm. Steven Humphrey - July 18, 2020
------------------------------

[image: Portland Police work in concert with federal officers to tear gas
and disperse protesters, Friday July 17.]

Portland Police work in concert with federal officers to tear gas and
disperse protesters, Friday July 17. Mathieu Lewis-Rolland

If it was the Trump administration's intention to "quell" Portland protests
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/17/whats-happening-portland-shows-trump-is-ignoring-constitution-attacking-america/>by
sending in federal officers to tamp down demonstrations, so far it hasn't
worked. At its largest, Friday night's July 17 rally brought an estimated
1,000 people to the downtown Multnomah County Justice Center and Mark
Hatfield Federal Courthouse to protest police brutality.

In response, federal officers with the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) fired an alarming amount of CS tear gas, mace, smoke, and munitions
at the crowd. They appeared to be coordinating efforts with local Portland
Police Bureau (PPB) officers, also quick to inflict violence on protesters
Friday evening—a partnership PPB denied earlier in the day
<https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/07/18/28652209/www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/07/17/28649667/dhs-secretary-met-with-portland-police-union-president-thursda>
.

The 50th day of protests in Portland started peacefully at 7 pm with a
candlelight vigil <https://twitter.com/JoAnnPDX/status/1284247841850814464>held
by City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty outside the Justice Center. Both
Hardesty and Oregon State Senator Lew Frederick addressed the crowd,
sharing their support of the Black Lives Matter movement, before handing
the mic over to Hip Hop Stands Up, a collective of local musicians and
artists calling for an end to police brutality. While the neighboring
Chapman and Lownsdale squares had been fenced off by law enforcement in an
orchestrated sweep Thursday, protesters had managed to dismantle most of
the fence by Friday evening, allowing attendees to again gather in the
parks that have become a hub for nightly rallies.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the first violence of the night came from
federal officers soon after Hardesty and Frederick left the park blocks.
Around 10 pm, two teams of federal officers emerged from the west, yelling
at protesters to get out of the street. It's unclear what, if anything,
provoked the officers' assault—as no members of the public were on federal
property at the time. The two dozen officers sprayed mace into the faces of
protesters, shot people with pepper balls, and fired flash bangs and a
voluminous amount of CS gas
<https://www.propublica.org/article/tear-gas-is-way-more-dangerous-than-police-let-on-especially-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic>
(or tear gas, which has been temporarily restricted in Portland by a
federal judge
<https://www.opb.org/news/article/tear-gas-ban-portland-judge-lawsuit-dont-shoot/>)
into the crowd, which included children and elderly adults who had been
attending the vigil and hip-hop concert.

At roughly the same time federal officers were attacking mostly peaceful
protesters, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced
<https://twitter.com/ORDOJ/status/1284344215409852416> that the state will
be suing several federal law enforcement agencies (including DHS, US
Marshals, Custom and Border Protection, and others) for their aggressive,
oversized response to protests in Portland. Included in the suit is an
incident that occurred last weekend in which a protester with his hands in
the air was shot in the head by federal officers
<https://www.opb.org/news/article/federal-officers-portland-protester-shot-less-lethal-munitions/>
and seriously injured.

“Every American should be repulsed when they see this happening,” Rosenblum
wrote in a press statement. “If this can happen here in Portland, it can
happen anywhere.”

Following the temporary dispersal of the crowd in the area around the
Justice Center, a crowd of around 300 marched to Mayor Ted Wheeler's
residence <https://twitter.com/hungrybowtie/status/1284364653053669381> in
the Pearl District to protest his response to the arrival of federal
officers
<https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/07/14/28632294/hall-monitor-crossing-the-line>
in Portland. By 11:30 pm they had rejoined the crowd of 300 chanting
outside the federal courthouse. That's when people began taking the fencing
that had once surrounded the public parks and began leaning pieces of fence
against the makeshift entrance to the federal courthouse. Officers had
previously been shooting tear gas canisters and munitions from this
entrance.

At midnight, federal officers tossed a smoke canister
<https://twitter.com/alex_zee/status/1284382190088802305> from this entry
point to dispel the crowd. Protesters responded by placing more fencing
against the building—secured with with sandbags—as hundreds sang along to
Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name Of" line: "Fuck you, I
won’t do what ya tell me!”

At 12:15 am, Portland police officers—announced that blocking the doors at
the federal courthouse was a crime, and protesters were risking arrest and
riot control retaliation
<https://twitter.com/alex_zee/status/1284386137306324993> by doing so. This
inspired the crowd to turn their attention away from the federal
courthouse, and back to the Justice Center, where they began blocking the
doors there. Police responded with a brief launching of flash bangs and
pepper balls <https://twitter.com/MrOlmos/status/1284391533161021440>.
Protester barricades were also erected at the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt
Federal Building that houses 16 federal agencies just south of the Justice
Center.

A crowd of 300 <https://twitter.com/alex_zee/status/1284399705678471168>
were still in the parks chanting and singing at 1:45 am when PPB declared a
large part of downtown "closed,"
<https://twitter.com/PortlandPolice/status/1284405668686921728> ordering
protesters to leave the area. When the crowd refused to move, a line of
federal officers launched tear gas and munitions at demonstrators,
appearing to be in concert with PPB's order. Minutes after, PPB officers
emerged from the clouds of gas, pushing protesters west. This seemingly
coordinated effort came hours after PPB Chief Chuck Lovell explicitly
stated that local cops were not collaborating with federal officers.
<https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/07/17/28649667/dhs-secretary-met-with-portland-police-union-president-thursday>

Portland police continued their push forward, firing more tear gas
indiscriminately into downtown streets
<https://twitter.com/alex_zee/status/1284411261719994368>—injuring a number
of houseless people
<https://twitter.com/alex_zee/status/1284410744558125057> in the fray.

By 2:30 am, PPB had made several arrests—including members of Riot Ribs
<https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/07/16/28646550/portland-police-arrest-riot-ribs-volunteers-during-abrupt-morning-sweep>,
a group of activists who serve free food during the nightly demonstrations.
According to those on the scene, the workers were packing up the donated
food into a U-Haul and were trying to drive away from downtown when the
volunteers were stopped by police.

The donated food (as well as personal belongings) were confiscated by
officers, and according to those with Riot Ribs
<https://twitter.com/riotribs/status/1284444043078963200>, their members
were arrested <https://twitter.com/alex_zee/status/1284419874438082560>for
allegedly trying to elude police. The U-Haul was then towed away by the
city after officers slashed the vehicles' tires.

Officers refused to answer questions from the *Mercury* about the arrests.

Around this same time, several members of the press reported they were
being threatened and ordered to leave the area
<https://twitter.com/MrOlmos/status/1284422362868285442> by Portland
Police—a violation of the temporary restraining order put in place by a
federal judge
<https://www.opb.org/news/article/oregon-aclu-federal-law-enforcement-portland-police-lawsuit/>
to keep law enforcement from targeting media and legal observers during
protests.

Police had forcefully dispersed the evening's demonstration by 4 am. More
protests are already planned for tonight
<https://twitter.com/PNWYLF/status/1284288329098203137>, and now a national
movement of rallies <https://refusefascism.org/> in support of peaceful
Portlanders who are being snatched up by federal officers are being
scheduled as well.

Continuing following the *Mercury* throughout the weekend for the latest
news and updates.
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