Authorities declared a riot after demonstrators smashed windows and faced off with cops in protest of the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on Friday evening, Nov. 19, in downtown Portland.
A crowd of perhaps 200 gathered near the Multnomah County Justice Center around 7 p.m. Friday — their anger spurred by the not guilty verdict issued by a jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the fatal shooting of two people by Rittenhouse, 17, during a protest last year. Rittenhouse said the shootings were in self-defense.
A person using a wheelchair was knocked over during a protest that was declared a riot by authorities tonight— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) November 20, 2021
Portland police clashed with demonstrators who gathered downtown after the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse pic.twitter.com/3wLSIhoRNr
The confrontation heated up after the black-clad crowd spied a band of police officers patrolling east on Jefferson Street; the officers disappeared into the secure parking garage on Jefferson and Southwest First Avenue, and protesters began banging on the rolled-down gate, shattering its portholes. Officer deployed a loud and smoky flashbang inside the parking garage, momentarily scattering the crowd.
Members of the protest group subsequently smashed several windows on the parking garage's ground floor, which are used by the city's print shop. A patrol vehicle's rear hatch window was also shattered at some point, according to a news release.
The confrontation then shifted a block over, as protesters began to congregate near the sally port on the side of the Justice Center used as the Portland Police Bureau's Central Precinct on Madison Avenue at Southwest Second Street. Demonstrators attempted to barricade the entrance using a Biketown Bike and several large tree branches. Officers raised and lowered the garage gate repeatedly, locking eyes with the crowd, before suddenly pushing forward, toppling one wheelchair user during the fray.
"Deputies met the trespassers on the ramp to prevent entry and began instructing them to exit," said Chris Liedle, a spokesman for the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, which declared the event a riot using the police bureau's amplified sound truck. "The crowd, which was described as hostile, launched urine, alcoholic beverages, water bottles and batteries at deputies during the event."
The spokesman described the rush in this manner: "Even as deputies instructed people to leave, deputies continued to take projectiles and were subjected to hostile behavior. Demonstrators then stood at the garage exit, repeatedly preventing the gate from closing by pushing on it. Again, deputies asked the crowd to leave. Demonstrators ignored the repeated requests and continued blocking the gate. Deputies swiftly moved toward the demonstrators that were preventing the gate from closing to allow space for the gate to close properly. Deputies retreated inside and were able to re-secure the gate."
Police said one person, who was not immediately identified, was arrested on a warrant, while another unidentified person was criminally cited. Officers say they stopped vehicles associated with the group, leading to five citations and 17 warnings. The crowd eventually dispersed without further incident.
Joe English, a reporter for the KATU television news channel, said his camera crew was attacked by protesters who didn't want to be filmed; one camera was damaged, the station reported.
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