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Portland Rioters Punch Cop In Face, Spray 5 Other Cops With Chemicals

Portland, OR – A Portland police sergeant was punched in the face and at least five other officers were attacked with a “chemical irritant” during yet another night of violent rioting on Monday, according to the police department.

Police learned about a “planned unpermitted march” that was taking place at Kenton Park on Brandon Avenue on Sept. 28, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said in a press release.

Officers spotted march “participants” congregating at the park wearing helmets and body armor and carrying shields beginning at about 8:45 p.m.

“The posture of the gathering suggested that it would become violent, as many such gatherings have been over the past 120-plus days,” PPB noted.

Officers moved into the park and began collecting shields in an attempt to “lower the likelihood” that rioters would use them to “protect those intent on committing crimes” and attacking officers, the department said.

Members of the group tried to stop police from seizing the shields, resulting in multiple arrests.

Officers also stopped a silver Subaru they spotted “driving dangerously in the area,” according to PPB.

“The vehicle…was marked with red cross insignia, suggesting it was being used as an amateur medic transport,” the department noted.

Officers allegedly found a loaded handgun inside the car and cited the driver, 40-year-old Jason Dye, for multiple traffic violations.

Meanwhile, officers back at the park used a loudspeaker to notify the group that they did not have a permit to march in the street, but that they were welcome congregate inside the park.

The crowd marched down the sidewalk to the Portland Police Association (PPA) building on Lombard Street, which has been the target of many “violent and destructive” riots over the past four months, PPB said.

Rioters have “burglarized the building, set arson fires, cut the power to the building, broke windows, and caused other destruction,” police said.

Officers have been forced to deploy tear gas and other munitions to push the violent mobs away in the past.

“This time, as the marchers approached, they were advised via loudspeaker that the sidewalk in front of the PPA was closed,” PPB said. “They were also notified that North Lombard Street was open to vehicular traffic and they were not to block the roadway.”

The department noted that incident commanders have allowed rioters to block the roadways in the past “in an effort to deescalate,” but that the tactic has not proven “to be an effective strategy for preventing violence and arson.”

The rioters opted to ignore the officers’ warnings and tried to block the roadway anyway, according to PPB.

As police moved in to arrest the violators, they “encountered violent resistance,” the department said.

In addition to being hit with rocks and other hard projectiles, one of the officers was punched in the face by a rioter.

The injured officer was transported to the hospital for treatment after the assault.

Five other officers were sprayed with an unknown chemical agent, according to PPB.

PPB declared the gathering to be an unlawful assembly and began dispersing the crowd and arresting those who refused to comply.

“Some of those arrested were wearing heavy body armor with rifle plating, were marked with ‘press’ insignia and carrying a ‘press’ pass, and possessed weapons such as knives and OC spray,” the department said. “Another who ran from police and was not caught threw a full sized baseball bat at the pursuing officers.”

Police arrested a total of 24 people before the rioters wandered away at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The violent attacks came just days after Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a series of tweets urging law enforcement administrators to look into “any alleged incidents” involving the police response to Saturday night’s riots.

“Free speech and free press are two of my core values. I take the use of physical force by law enforcement officers seriously, whether it involves members of the public or the media,” Brown wrote. “I have asked Superintendent Hampton, Sheriff Reese, and Chief Lovell to review any alleged incidents involving officers from each of their agencies during joint operations last night.”

Brown said that police and journalists both have “difficult jobs” to do during the uprisings, but that she still believes “we can protect free speech and keep the peace.”

“I am committed to continuing to do the hard work to build trust in our communities as we work toward police accountability and racial justice,” the governor added.

Brown did not mention anything about rioters who have been posing as members of the press.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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