• Search

Portland Rioters Topple Abraham Lincoln Statue, Try Burning Down Historical Society

Portland, OR – Hundreds of rioters toppled and vandalized statues of former U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt before smashing out the windows of the Oregon Historical Society during an “Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Rage” on Sunday night.

The destructive riot erupted in anticipation of the Christopher Columbus Day federal holiday, which is observed on Oct. 12, the Associated Press reported.

The mob threw red paint on the “Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider” statue, then used a blowtorch to damage the base of the monument, according to multiple news outlets.

They used chains and a vehicle to stopple the Roosevelt statue just before 9 p.m.

“According to Portland Parks and Rec, that statue has been there for almost a century,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell told reporters during a press conference on Monday morning.

Approximately eight minutes after knocking the Roosevelt statue off its pedestal, the violent crowd tore down the Lincoln statue and spray painted the words “Dakota 38” on the monument’s base, the Associated Press reported.

The phrase was a reference to the 38 Dakota men who were hanged after being involved in a violent uprising with white settlers in Minnesota, according to the Associated Press.

Then-President Lincoln approved their executions.

Chief Lovell said that the Lincoln statue dated back to 1928.

The mob proceeded to smash out the windows of the Oregon Historical Society and tossed “at least three lit flares” into the building, “in an apparent attempt to start fires,” he continued.

The flares went out before the structure ignited.

The crowd later made their way to the Portland State University’s Campus Public Safety building, where they broke out several windows, Chief Lovell said.

They vandalized multiple buildings along the way, including a coffee shop, a bank, and a jewelry store, among others.

Someone fired a gun through the front window of a restaurant at one point during the night, police said.

Multiple witnesses said that the shooter also pointed the weapon at various people in the area.

Officers were able to take the alleged gunman into custody in a residential area after a foot pursuit, Chief Lovell said.

The suspect was armed with a loaded weapon at the time of the arrest, he added.

Investigators later found two bullets lodged in the back wall of the restaurant, according to Chief Lovell.

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) declared the gathering to be a riot just before 10 p.m., KATU reported.

“This group was intent on committing acts of criminal violence and mayhem,” Chief Lovell told reporters during the press conference.

Chief Lovell confirmed that the mob “toppled several historic statues…did damage to several businesses,” attempted to burn down the Historical Society building, and “broke out countless windows.”

He said that the “day of rage” was “touted as a non-family-friendly event” for days ahead of time, and that “participants were encouraged to come wearing all black with masks.”

Many showed up wearing helmets and carrying shields.

The group had “threatened” members of the media and live streamers and told them not to attend the event, the chief added.

“This gave us some indication that these folks wanted to engage in criminal activity and reduce their risk of being caught,” Chief Lovell said.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler kicked off a press conference on Monday morning by declaring that it was “Indigenous People’s Day.”

“This day highlights the need for racial justice and equity for all people in our community, so its unfortunate that yesterday, a group of individuals acting under what they described as the ‘Indigenous People’s Day of Rage’ coopted what is otherwise a peaceful opportunity for education and reflection and celebration of the achievements – the accomplishments – of the Native American community, and instead engaged in acts of criminal destruction here in Portland,” Wheeler told reporters.

He said he was “obviously deeply troubled” by the “obscene” acts that occurred on Sunday night.

“They’re an affront to the values of this community,” Wheeler continued.

“As mayor, I will never tolerate or condone violence or criminal destruction,” he claimed.

The mayor confirmed that the Oregon Historical Society was one of the buildings that was “targeted” by the rioters.

“The Oregon Historical Society has gone out of its way to reflect the truth of Oregon history and educate the public about all aspects of Oregon history – the good, the bad, and the ugly,” Wheeler noted. “So, its ironic that this was the institution that was chosen to be attacked by this anarchist behavior.”

Chief Lovell said that police made three “targeted arrests” throughout the overnight mayhem, including another suspect who was armed with a loaded gun.

The rioter allegedly responsible for driving the vehicle that helped to pull down one of the statues was also among those arrested.

Chief Lovell said he was thankful that the dangerous situation created by the rioters did not result in any fatalities.

He noted that the violence in downtown Portland has been going on for nearly five months without any indication of letting up.

“These events…they purport to have a racial justice nexus, but they’re not,” the chief declared. “They’re about violence and criminal destruction, and they’re really hurting our community and we all deserve better.”

President Donald Trump denounced the toppling of the statues and widespread destruction in a tweet on Sunday night.

“These are Biden fools. ANTIFA RADICALS,” he wrote. “Get them FBI, and get them now!”

The President mentioned Portland officials’ refusal to accept help from federal law enforcement in a series of tweets on Monday.

“The Radical Left fools in Portland don’t want any help from real Law Enforcement which we will provide instantaneously. Vote!” he wrote. “The Radical Left only knows how to take advantage of very dumb ‘leadership’ fools. This is [Joe] Biden! Law & Order!”

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.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."