Portland marked the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd with a familiar refrain — numerous arrests, property damage and a riot.
Portland Police Bureau officers declared the downtown riot shortly before 10 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25 — one year to the day since the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer who was later convicted of murder.
"We're trying to reduce police violence. And yet we get to see firsthand how violent police can be," said one woman at the protest, who said she attended numerous demonstrations until she was arrested while standing on a sidewalk last year.
The woman, who declined to give her name, said she hoped state lawmakers would heed the call of protesters and pass a slate of police reform bills currently under consideration in Salem.
"If they aren't going to act on those bills that we have in there right now, then they really don't care about people," she said.
The gathering of several hundred outside the Multnomah County Justice Center was declared an unlawful assembly around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday after protesters dragged a dumpster to the building and set it alight, spurring a showdown with a line of officers dressed in riot gear who watched as the receptacle burned, leaving only a plastic smear on the pavement.
After officers withdrew, the black-clad band embarked on a circuitous march that lasted for hours. Along the way, protesters used skateboards, hammers, slingshots and other items to smash windows at City Hall. Other targets for broken glass included at least four Starbucks coffee shops, a Pandora boutique, an Indochino clothing store, The White Dress bridal shop, Pinkham Millinery, a bank, Ruth's Chris Steak House and several jewelry stores.
Fresh graffiti was applied on the walls of the newly-renovated Portland Building, and on countless other edifices as well.
Police did not challenge the band beyond their initial confrontation, but made five targeted arrests as those accused of inflicting property damaged slipped away from the main protest group.
Police said protesters threw frozen water bottles, glass bottles, eggs and metal spikes at officers and fired mortar-style fireworks, according to a news release. Officers were observed firing several less-lethal rounds at protesters during their initial skirmish at the Justice Center.
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