Tigard council offers businesses compensation for protest destruction
Tigard's mayor officially weighed in on the events of the previous week — both the shooting death of a man by a Tigard police officer and the subsequent protest that resulted in extensive vandalism to the police department, City Hall and downtown businesses — during a City Council meeting Tuesday evening, Jan. 12.
Council members received a play-by-play overview of events during the protest, which was deemed a riot by police before it was over, and also agreed to compensate downtown Tigard businesses that suffered damage.
The mayor's comments came following the Jan. 6 shooting death of Jacob Ryan Macduff, 26, who was killed by a Tigard police officer during what was reported as a domestic disturbance call. The next night, a march organized by those protesting Macduff's death turned destructive as windows were smashed and graffiti sprayed at both businesses along Southwest Main Street and at the city's main campus.
Since then, details of the shooting have been few with officials saying that such information can only be released by the Washington County District Attorney's Office after an investigation by the Washington County Major Crimes Team is completed.
"We're heartbroken that Mr. Macduff lost his life last week and that Tigard lost a community member. Many of you in the community have expressed concern, shock and anger about the events," Mayor Jason Snider said during opening remarks at Tuesday's council meeting. "We want you to know that we hear you."
Snider said he is asking the community for patience as the investigation continues while condemning those who destroyed property.
"We want everyone in the community to feel safe," he continued. "We take your concerns to heart. We respect everyone's rights to protest peacefully but do not condone destruction of property as part of peaceful protests."
Snider said the city stands by the people whose property was damaged during the Jan. 7 protest, emphasizing, "Trust and tolerance are values that we embrace, but the violence last week has no place in our community and will not be tolerated."
The council later in the evening discussed how to compensate the business owners who had property defaced or windows broken.
"Where we landed was the city will pay for any expenses that can be documented with a receipt including materials like plywood that was used to prepare for any potential damage, or if they had to pay staff overtime to prepare or clean up or hire someone to do repairs," Councilor Liz Newton, who originally suggested compensating businesses, said on Friday.
Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine said she understands the frustration with information on the shooting coming out so slowly, but she noted that she doesn't control the information and she's patiently waiting for the results of that investigation as well.
"I'd be remiss if I did not say that the events of Jan. 7 would not have probably occurred had we not had an officer-involved shooting on Jan. 6," said McAlpine.
Tigard Police Cmdr. Bob Rogers told the council while he wouldn't explain some of the department's actions "due to the sources and methods of their acquisition," the first time police were made aware of an impending Jan. 7, protest came that same morning, through an online "call to action" to protest the police shooting.
Rogers said police officials also tried to determine who was organizing the protests but were unable to do so. He noted that it was an unpermitted event.
He said it soon became clear that the intentions of some of the protesters were different than explained in online posts, with Tigard police then activating an incident command system. Police also let other agencies such as Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (the emergency dispatch center for the county) and other local law enforcement agencies know about the protest. In addition, they contacted the Washington County Sheriff's Office to see if its Mobile Field Force was available.
For safety, the city government closed its campus containing the police department, Tigard City Hall and the Tigard Permit Center at 3 p.m. and let staff go home early. Rogers said police also issued a press release at 5:07 p.m., naming Macduff as the victim and explaining that police were responding to a domestic disturbance at the time, alleging Macduff had a knife at the time and saying a struggle occurred before an officer fatally shot Macduff.
"We hoped this would get out there, and my understanding is it made a significant difference on the size and the volume of the event, or the group that attended the event," Rogers told the council.
The Sheriff's Office also volunteered support to assist the Tigard Police Department with the event, including a drone, according to Rogers.
"That's about 24 fully equipped and trained members that are able to respond to my direction," Rogers said.
He said protesters began assembling in a parking lot at 7:15 p.m. and were believed to be scouting the City Hall campus both on foot from the back side near the Fanno Creek Trail and in vehicles along the streets. Twenty minutes later, there was a group of about 30 to 40 people dressed in black and wearing medical masks, who appeared to be acting peacefully and were not carrying protest signs or protective shields, said Rogers.
However, from 7:48 to 8 p.m., he said, numerous vehicles were reported arriving and a vehicle was observed transporting unidentified items or equipment to and from a parking lot across from Main Street to the assembled group. That's when Rogers determined "it was my belief that the city campus was going to be the target, the police department was."
Protesters' motorcycles blocking the road was the first illegal act police noticed, said Rogers.
Police say a loud firework went off at 8:17 p.m., which they believe was the trigger for the march to begin, involving about 100 people on foot in the downtown area. The first report of graffiti was on Burnham Street at 8:34 p.m., when someone tagged a window with graffiti, Rogers said.
"At that time, I declared or determined it was an unlawful assembly," he said.
The crowd of about 100 continued east on Burnham Street at 8:35 p.m., heading toward City Hall, and started to block Burnham Street.
"(At) 8:45 p.m. the group proceeded to the central circle of the campus, and that's where they actively began spray-painting buildings," Rogers said. "They came straight up to our police department windows and started pounding on all the side windows. (They) had lasers that we could see from all the surveillance cameras inside that were being shot at our security cameras."
Fireworks were set off as well.
Rogers said the front doors of the police department were shattered at 8:46 p.m., followed by other glass windows being shattered and graffiti being spray-painted on the building. He said when it appeared that the group was going to enter the police department lobby, Tigard police deployed to intervene.
"All strike teams were deployed. We had a show of lights on one side and the mobile field force on the other two sides, basically in a 'U' pattern (along) with sirens on the side routes, and we made multiple announcements," Rogers explained.
Surveillance cameras showed someone spray-painting a security camera, and another person with a crowbar or hammer was videotaped smashing windows along the police lobby, he said.
Police declared a riot at 8:46 p.m. via a public address system, while Rogers said he personally placed his bullhorn through a large smashed hole in his police station window, declaring the same.
"At 8:53, the crowd had departed at a full run," Rogers told councilors.
As officers in riot gear came out, the crowd ran onto Main Street. One man was arrested for riot at the campus site, he said.
The crowd continued to "tag" businesses until after about 9:15 p.m., with all the groups gone by 10:40 p.m., Rogers said.
Police are looking for those who defaced or destroyed city property for prosecution, according to Cmdr. James McDonald, services commander, who oversees Tigard police investigations.
"There was a loss of life and it is not easy for anyone – not the family, officers who are grappling with this and then the officers who may not have been on scene but seeing the after-effects of damage to the city," McAlpine said in closing comments directed at the council. "To business owners, innocent owners that had nothing to do with that incident the night before. It is tremendously, emotionally impactful and I just appreciate the fact that you can mourn for a community member but also support the police department as we're going through this and I just appreciate (you) understanding those dynamics."
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