PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A riot was declared as a group of about 200 protesters in downtown Portland began breaking windows, throwing objects at police and talked about burning down the Justice Center Friday night.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office declared the riot when the gate to the Justice Center detention area was damaged, although Portland police initially tweeted there was a riot. The sheriff’s office used PPB’s loudspeaker to make the declaration.
Around 8:50 p.m. there were about 200 protesters in downtown Portland. They were blocking SW 2nd and Main and chanting anti-police slogans. Police were keeping an eye on them. Cars were able to slowly get through.
However, around 9 p.m.., windows were broken and doors of city facilities were damaged, including the city print shop on SW Madison between 2nd and 1st Avenues. PPB’s Central Precinct was tagged with graffiti.
Police tweeted objects were being thrown at officers in the area, and one officer’s patrol car had its rear window smashed.
Protesters began to tear down fencing and construction signs to use as street barricades, banging on the doors and yelling anti-police chants. There were also trash fires and other debris set on fire in the streets.
Chris Liedle with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said the riot was declared after protesters began focusing on and “tampering with” a roll-up gate at the Justice Center. As many as 20 protesters began moving down that ramp toward the entrance of the jail and put large tree branches in the way to stop the gate from closing.
Deputies and the protesters faced off on the ramp. The “hostile” crowd threw “urine, alcoholic beverages, water bottles and batteries,” Liedle said.
Objects continued to be thrown at the deputies and the protesters prevented the gate from closing. Deputies rushed the demonstrators, got the gate closed and then went back inside once the gate was secured.
PPB said one person was “criminally cited” and another was arrested, although that person had an outstanding warrant. Officers pulled over five cars associated with the group of protesters, police said, giving out five citations and 17 warnings.
By 11 p.m., the crowd of 200 had broken up and largely dispersed.
Liedle said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can contact them through email: IAU@mcso.us
The protesters gathered following the acquittal of a teen who killed two people and injured another during a protest in Wisconsin after a white officer shot a Black man.
Hours after the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was announced, Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell said officers were working on plans for Friday night and the weekend, adding that it was “reasonable to expect there will be some type of reaction to the verdict.”
Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges, including first-degree intentional homicide and four others, in connection with the fatal shooting in August 2020.
Earlier on Friday, Lovell told reporters Portland police may call in for help from other law enforcement agencies to respond to any protests, including Oregon State Police.
Whether PPB would call in the National Guard “depends on what information we have and what we feel the level of threat is,” Lovell added.
Editor’s note: The story initially reported the Portland Police Bureau declared a riot; police later clarified it was the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office as the agency that declared a riot.