Night 79: Unlawful assembly declared in Portland

After returning their attention to the courthouse building a couple of nights ago, last night a group of about 300 people with shields and riot gear were intent on heading back to the Portland Police Association headquarters north of downtown. Since they’ve tried to set fires inside this building before, police were determined not to let them take another crack at it. And that meant lots of confrontations in the streets. Here’s the description of last night’s activity from the police:


Police learned that the march was likely proceeding to the offices of the Portland Police Association (PPA) in the 1800 Block of North Lombard Street. During multiple previous demonstrations, individuals broke into the PPA office and lit arson fires, in addition to committing burglary, theft, and vandalism.

In order to avoid a repeat of those past events, Officers positioned themselves to block the marchers access to the PPA office. Some members of the group began launching paintballs and other projectiles at officers. Due to the ongoing criminal behavior, an unlawful assembly was declared…

Over the course of several hours, parts of the group and continued to block streets and throw projectiles at officers. Officers dispersed them in different directions. There was also a minor injury traffic crash caused by a driver who was unaware of the street blockage.

As officers dispersed the crowd, individuals launched commercial grade fireworks, golf balls, large river rock, palm sized chunks of concrete (see attached photo), glass bottles, and ball bearings from sling shots at officers. One officer was punched in the head multiple times, causing minor injury, and the suspect was arrested. Another officer was struck by an object, possibly a stick or bat, and suffered a minor injury. Green lasers were shined in officers’ eyes. Several people with “press” affixed to them shined flashlights in officers eyes. Multiple dumpster fires were set in traffic intersections. Some of the fires were set close enough to traffic that several cars had to swerve to miss them.

At one point the marchers started toward North Precinct at 449 Northeast Emerson Street, but officers blocked their path. North Precinct, a working community policing center, has also been the scene of multiple arson fires.


What it actually looked like on the streets was a lot of chaos and, frankly, some of the police just seemed angry. Maybe it’s because they’re tired of having things like this thrown at them:

There’s a lot of video from last night so I won’t try to include all of it but here are some of significant moments in roughly chronological order.

Right away the guy documenting this notices something is different.

The marchers set up a line of wooden shields opposite the police.

The police weren’t budging so the group retreated to look for another path they could take toward the PPA building.


For a while there was a standoff with the group shouting things and throwing things at the police:

The timestamp on this tweet suggests it came later but the description says this is right around the same time, i.e. just before the police charged:

Around 10:30 the police declared an unlawful assembly and ordered everyone to disperse. They guys with the shields didn’t move so the police charged through their line (2nd clip below):

Once the crowd was moving, the police just kept pushing them:

The retreating crowd responded with dumpster fires in the street:

There were only four arrests made last night and this is one of them. This guy is clearly resisting arrest and even grabs an officer’s baton at one point, but none of that will be considered cause for charges by the Portland DA.


Eventually there was another standoff on an overpass:

And the police rushed the people who were on the bridge:

Sometime around 1:30 am it was over and police drove off.

So that’s basically what happened on night 79. Police were being more aggressive than I’ve seen in the past week. They weren’t just trailing the group to see what would happen, they were cutting them off and confronting them direclty. The police have already been criticized for pushing through the shield wall by Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty:


The police have no good options here. They could kettle the group and make mass arrests but the DA has made clear he won’t bring charges in those situations so it would just be a lot of effort and paperwork and the same people would be back out the next night. All the police can do at this point is keep fighting these nightly battles to keep the mob too occupied to try to burn anything (besides dumpsters). After 11 weeks of this, I’m sure the police are pretty frustrated and sick of it.

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