Posted on August 24, 2020

Awning Set on Fire During Portland Protest; Police Declare Riot, Use Tear Gas: Key Takeaways

Oregon Live, August 24, 2020

More than 300 protesters marched on a Portland Police Bureau precinct in Northeast Portland late Sunday. Police lined up far from protesters but eventually declared the gathering a riot in response to an increasingly provocative crowd.

Police did not respond except with verbal warnings until an awning on an abutting building was lit on fire, at which point officers used munitions, including tear gas, to scatter the crowd. The fire was quickly extinguished.


Nearly two-dozen people were arrested during the Sunday demonstration, which marked the 88th night of Portland protests over police violence. {snip}


{snip} As protesters arrived at the police precinct around 10 p.m., police announced on a loudspeaker that Northeast Emerson Street was closed to the public, and that protesters who entered the street leading the to the precinct could be arrested or hit with crowd-control munitions.


Police also warned against throwing objects, but within an hour the space between protesters and police was strewn with water bottles and broken glass. At one point, a large firework exploded near the police line.

Around 10:30 p.m., police declared an unlawful assembly in response to thrown objects and lasers shined at officers, the agency said.

Items thrown toward officers included pieces of ceramic, rocks, glass bottles and at least one balloon filled with feces, according to police. Officers on the roof of the building were hit by rocks, police said, and a piece of ceramic cut a lieutenant’s hand.

Police cars were also hit by thrown bottles, paint bombs, rocks and heavy metal screws, according to police.


Shortly after 11 p.m., police declared a riot.

{snip} Minutes later, an awning on an adjacent building was set ablaze. As a person tried to put out the fire with a handheld extinguisher from the roof, police deployed distraction grenades and tear gas canisters, temporarily scattering the crowd.

Just after 11:30, police officers emerged to scatter the remaining crowd, about 200 strong, and make arrests. That pattern repeated several times as the night wore on.

{snip} Officers arrested 23 people during the demonstration. Those arrested were booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on suspicion of charges including disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer and rioting.