Unlawful assembly at Portland protest after Chauvin verdict
The verdict was guilty. But for a dedicated cadre whose movement has put the entire justice system on trial, that was only one more reason to take to the streets.
Authorities declared an unlawful assembly and made two arrests — including for felony assault of an officer — during a downtown demonstration on Tuesday evening, April 20.
The protest followed the announcement of a guilty on all charges verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, a Black man whose death last year spurred an uprising in Portland that lasted for over 100 days without respite.
After flyers for the night's event were shared on social media, including by the Portland Police Bureau, protesters and more than a few national journalists gathered near the Multnomah County Justice Center.
Early in the night the crew, dressed in black and numbering perhaps 100, approached members of the press with umbrellas extended, saying media risked having their cameras smashed if they remained, and later spray-painted lines on the sidewalk on Southwest Main Street delineating a "press jail" for those covering the event.
But no open confrontations broke out among the two sides after the crowd began to march away from the county jail around 9 p.m.
The windows of at least two Starbucks coffee shops were smashed, and fresh graffiti was applied in many places. The crowd was closely following by police on bicycles who declared the assembly unlawful.
Violence broke out near a TriMet bus stop at Southwest Sixth Avenue and Jefferson Street, with one protester landing a punch that connected with the face of a bike officer, believed to be Sgt. John Oliphant, sending him sprawling onto the ground. Officers then tackled the 36-year-old protester and struck him numerous times, later announcing he was charged with assaulting a public safety officer and other offenses.
Portland police made an arrest after declaring an unlawful assembly tonight pic.twitter.com/KoOvN4qmAe— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) April 21, 2021
Another protester taken into custody near the bus stop around 10:05 p.m. was accused of breaking windows, and was allegedly arrested "with (a) glass punch tool and cans of spray paint" on his person, according to a PPB press release.
"One thing to note, the area affected by the criminal activity was contained within a few blocks of downtown Portland," police said. "This is not to minimize the impact to those who were victimized by the property damage, as we take any damage seriously."
There were no noticeable crowds celebrating downtown immediately after the verdict was announced earlier in the day.
In an interview in Pioneer Courthouse Square, Beaverton resident Lisa Dayson, 50, said she'd been watching the Chauvin trial live since the beginning.
"I was glad to see the (jurors) being sane, actually weighing the real evidence and found him guilty," Dayson said. "As a white woman, I don't know how to feel for everybody in society, but I'm glad it came out the right way."
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.