Portland, OR – Most Portland rioters turned their attention from the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse to the Penumbra Kelly Building on Monday night, where they attacked city police officers with lasers, paint-filled balloons, and other various objects.
A rioter punched one officer during the melee, and another officer was hit in the arm “by a protester swinging a stick or baton,” the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said in a press release.
Approximately 200 rioters marched in the traffic lanes from Laurelhurst Park to the Penumbra Kelly Building on East Burnside Street beginning at approximately 9:15 p.m. on August 3, according to the PPB.
The mob barricaded the roadway in both directions, blocking the Portland Fire Bureau (PFB) from its initially-planned route to gain access to a house fire near 57th Avenue and East Burnside Street, police said.
The PFB was able to reroute to avoid the blocked roadways.
In the hours that followed, rioters “began throwing objects at officers and flashing laser pointers, bright flashlights, and strobe lights in the officers’ eyes,” the PPB said.
Police repeatedly warned the mob to stay off of the property, but they barged onto the building grounds anyway at approximately 11:30 p.m.
The officers were attacked with various objects as they took one suspect into custody, the PPB said.
They declared an unlawful assembly about 15 minutes later “due to criminal activity,” according to the release.
Police used a loudspeaker to repeatedly order the mob to move to the east.
During the dispersal, the officers had paint-filled balloons and other objects thrown at them.
One officer was punched in the face, while another was injured when a rioter hit him in the arm with a “stick or baton,” the PPB said.
Police arrested a second suspect as they pushed the mob back several blocks.
“Officers deployed inert smoke to allow officers to safely disengage,” according to the press release.
A group of rioters returned to the area outside the Penumbra Kelly Building and resumed yelling and flashing lights at them before they eventually gave up and left around 1:30 a.m.
PPB arrested two rioters during the overnight chaos.
A 15-year-old boy was also detained by officers during another gathering in the area of Southwest Taylor Street and Southwest 4th Avenue after he allegedly pointed a pellet gun at people, KPTV reported.
Portland resident Travis Hessel, 27, was booked on a single charge of assaulting a public safety officer, according to police.
Portland resident Zachary Perry, 23, was booked on a single charge of second-degree criminal trespass.
The Penumbra Kelly Building is owned by the city of Portland, and is utilized by both county and city employees, KATU reported.
The latest night of chaos came on the heels of a video release issued by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf in response to the Portland riots.
He commended federal officers for their response during the past 10 weeks of nightly mayhem in the city, during which they have repeatedly come under attack.
Wolf noted that DHS is committed to protecting citizens’ right to peacefully protest, but that they also cannot “allow criminals engaged in violence to hide amongst” demonstrators.
The Federal Protective Service (FPS) has been tasked with protecting federal properties around the U.S. for the past 40 years, Wolf said.
“They’ve done so with little fanfare and recognition, largely because of the cooperative relationship they have with state and local law enforcement in every location,” he explained.
On the rare occasions when violence has erupted in those areas, the FPS and local authorities have worked well together to bring such issues to a peaceful conclusion.
“Unfortunately, for over 60 days in Portland, FPS and other DHS law enforcement officers have received almost no assistance from state and local law enforcement,” Wolf said. “They have been left to defend a federal courthouse and make arrests on their own. This should never have occurred.”
The acting secretary declared that state and local law enforcement agencies “should have partnered” with federal officers “since day one.”
“During this time, our law enforcement officers have been assaulted with – among other weapons – mortar-style, commercial grade fireworks, accelerants, IEDs, sledgehammers, concrete, and slingshots,” Wolf continued. “Officers have suffered chemical burns, bloody wounds, and attacks with blinding lasers, leaving some of our colleagues with significant and permanent eye damage.”
Officers have been victims of doxing – a practice that Wolf said has become “commonplace.”
Rioters have attempted to set the federal courthouse ablaze on a nightly basis for months, and relentlessly tried to destroy or topple the protective fence that was erected to provide officers with a slight safety barrier.
“Graffiti displaying slanderous statements against law enforcement covers most nearby surfaces,” Wolf added.
He noted that these acts were not committed by “peaceful protesters.”
“These are the actions for criminals,” he said.
Wolf praised the DHS officers who have risked their own safety to help protect federal properties in Portland, and denounced those who have referred to federal law enforcement officers as “stormtroopers, the Gestapo, and thugs.”
“I cannot tell you how offensive and irresponsible this language is,” he said. “Whether it’s the press, past DHS leadership or other critics, it’s become evident that many of them have an inability to view operational facts – actual events that are occurring in Portland and elsewhere – through anything but a political lens.”
Wolf called such attitudes “unfortunate,” and said that federal officers have been mistreated as a result.
“The lack of support and assistance from state and local officials has been unacceptable,” he reiterated, adding that political leaders have only recently agreed to step in to help “quell the violence.”
“Despite our difference, this week we did secure a commitment from the governor of Oregon to finally allow Oregon State troopers to partner with DHS law enforcement,” Wolf said. “As this new plan is set in motion, DHS will remain in our current, augmented levels of personnel until we are assured that local officials can maintain peace night after night.”
FPS will continue its regular practice of protecting the federal courthouse even after things return to normal.
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers were deployed to city streets and parks for the first time on Sunday night, Wolf said.
“As predicted…it worked,” he noted. “We saw no violent activity directed at the federal courthouse.”
Wolf said he is looking forward to the opportunity to testify before Congress regarding the events that have occurred in Portland over the past two months.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to tell the full and accurate story of what our law enforcement officers have been up against,” he said, adding that those officers have his “full and complete support.”
“Your dedication to duty, sacrifice, and discipline over the past two months has been remarkable,” Wolf concluded. “Each of you are a testament to what this department stands for, and it has been an honor to stand with you through this difficult time. We will not give in to anarchy and lawlessness.”