Police union HQ burns, feds clash with Portland protesters
Portland's protest movement continued to boil as demonstrators clashed with both local police in the Northeast quarter of the city — and federal officers guarding a downtown courthouse on Saturday, July 18.
One column of marchers moved from a park to the North Precinct building, where a squad car left in an unsecured parking lot had its back window smashed. The column then moved on to the Lombard Street union building for rank-and-file officers, the Portland Police Association, where protesters smashed windows and set the building alight around 11 p.m.
A riot was declared and officers charged into the crowd, scattering them.
Ppa is on fire. pic.twitter.com/GPP1HdZmoc— Griffin - Live from the Justice Center (@GriffinMalone6) July 19, 2020
Meanwhile, in downtown Portland, federal officers emerged from the Hatfield Courthouse on at least three occasions, in one instance launching flashbangs at an organization of mothers. A new, sturdier fence erected around the perimeter was quickly disassembled and propped up against the reinforced front of the courthouse, prompting the feds to push off the barricades twice, filling the nearby parks with tear gas in the process.
Eventually, however, they left the barricades in place. During the fray, federal police hit one protester repeatedly with batons and pepper sprayed the man as he remained rooted in place like an oak.
A local veteran who identified himself as the protester in question said police broke his knuckle and two fingers during the altercation.
Federal police strike protester with baton, use pepper spray and tear gas outside courthouse in Portland pic.twitter.com/VX2xTVaaYq— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) July 19, 2020
Beyond those brief moments of violence, the protest downtown stayed relatively quiet for hours.
One man, using the nickname Green Wizard, said he was part of a group distributing homemade shields made of foam, cardboard, plenty of duct tape and other sundry materials.
"We bring these here to help people who want to defend themselves and defend their rights," he said. "The language of the state is violence."
Bryan Wolf, an assistant professor at OHSU, attended the protest in a different attire: the signature white coat of a doctor.
"The Portland Police Bureau wouldn't deescalate, and now we have the consequence of that: the federal government entering our state," he said. "They are mirroring what the Portland police have done."
Follow me on Twitter
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.