A group of several hundred people gathered in Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square Park around 8:30 p.m., where they gave and listened to speeches for about 2 hours.
Members of the group then began launching commercial-grade fireworks at the fence erected around the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse to protect it from rioters. They also ignited at least two fires outside the building.
Most of the crowd were wearing helmets and gas masks and carrying shields and batons, according to the Portland Police Bureau.
“Because of the criminal behavior occurring, public address announcements were made telling the group to stop launching fireworks and starting fires at the federal courthouse,” it said in a nightly incident summary.
As officers made the announcement, rioters shined green lasers at their eyes. The lasers can cause permanent damage to sight.
Most of the mob moved to the nearby Central Precinct, where they blocked traffic and continued criminal actions. At 11:32 p.m., an unlawful assembly was declared.
Members ignored orders to disperse and started a fire just outside the police building.
Portland police officers and Oregon state troopers worked together to disperse the crowd, using tear gas and crowd control munitions. During the action, rioters threw a large explosive and other fireworks at the officers, as well as rocks, bottles, and cans of paint. One officer sustained severe injuries and others minor injuries. A riot was declared.
Rioters began to move back south toward the Justice Center, a county building near the federal courthouse. Rioters and officers continued to clash into the early hours of Thursday.
One portion of the group threatened three workers who had emerged from the back of the Justice Center, while others blocked private vehicles from leaving a parking garage around the corner because some thought the vehicles contained off-duty police officers. Some of the group also completed what they call a “de-arrest,” or surrounding an officer and the person he or she has taken into custody and freeing the detainee through force.
Several arrests were made, though it wasn’t clear if any of the people would be prosecuted. New Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced this week that his office would drop cases for a range of charges, including riot, disorderly conduct, and interfering with a public safety officer.
Federal officers did not appear. The Trump administration reached a deal with the state last month on having city, county, and state officers protect the courthouse after police failed to protect the building earlier in the month, forcing the federal government to surge assets to Portland.
Demetria Hester, who was released this week without being charged, was seen among the crowd.
“Your mom hates you. You go home and you drink yourself to sleep,” Hester told officers standing on the street. “Because you think about the evil that you do every day. You hurt people that pay you to protect them.”
“You don’t care about your wife. You beat her. You beat your kids,” she added.
From The Epoch Times