That was when I walked toward the front of the march, where I was set upon by a mob, some wearing fiberglass-hardened gloves as well as masks. They pummeled me in the face and the back of the head until I let go of my camera, which somebody snatched. I raised my arms in surrender, but the mob took that as a signal to become more aggressive. Next rained a hail of milkshakes, eggs, rocks, silly string and possibly pepper spray. The mob hollered and laughed as I stumbled away.
My eyes stung and my face burned. Blood ran down my neck from a ripped earlobe. I later learned the police tweeted they’d “received information that some of the milkshakes thrown today during the demonstration contained quick-drying cement” (though there was no indication the ones that hit me did). I made my way to the courthouse before I lost my balance and sat down. A group of SWAT medics told me I’d have to walk back to the police precinct—toward the protesters—to get medical help, so I did. Later, at the hospital, I was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain, and admitted for observation. I spent more than 30 hours in the hospital and am told I may suffer memory loss for up to six months.
Despite being surrounded by institutions of the rule of law that day, what I experienced was violent anarchy and lawlessness. Portland calls itself a “sanctuary city,” but it’s nothing of the sort for a law-abiding journalist.