Portland Police: 80 emergency calls on hold because of riot
Police say that 80 emergency calls were placed on hold overnight because so many officers were needed to disperse a riot at North Precinct.
Several people in a crowd of about 200 protesters attacked the building housing the precinct late Sunday and early Monday, Aug. 23 and 24. Two awnings were set on fire, and people in the crowd threw objects and pointed lasers at officers putting them out, police said.
"The event forced the assistance of about 35 officers from patrol, severely limiting call response. As the riot was ending, there were 80 calls holding in the city, ranging from shots fired, car crashes, welfare checks, priority threats, missing persons and more," police said in an early Monday statement.
North Precinct has been the location of numerous protests, including several instances where some in the crowd tried to set fire to the building with people working inside. To protect the building and give the officers protective space, police closed Northeast Emerson Street between Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard and Sixth Avenue Sunday night. Police vehicles were positioned across the road and lights were used to illuminate the street.
Due to the criminal activity, the gathering was declared an unlawful assembly at 10:29 p.m. All participants were directed over loudspeaker to leave to the south. A riot was declared at 11:08 a.m. Monday and CS gas, or tear gas, was used to disperse the crowd. Several officers were injured and 23 people were arrested.
The violence happened as the Republican National Committee is scheduled to start its Presidential Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Reuters news agency reports that President Donald Trump is expected to cite the ongoing protests in Portland and other cities as a reason to reelect him.
As Reuters reported on Friday, Aug 21: "In a preview of what Republicans will argue at their own convention next week, Trump hammered at the law-and-order theme he has embraced in response to anti-racism and police brutality protests in U.S. cities including Portland, Oregon.
"He said police had been weakened in 'Democrat-run' cities and cited a spike in murders in Chicago, Minneapolis, New York and Philadelphia. He urged Americans to turn back 'radical left socialists and Marxists.' … He called protesters in Portland 'crazy.'"
KOIN News 6 is a new partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story. Their story with video can be found here.
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