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Portland Rioters Try Set Fire To Federal Courthouse Hours After Security Fence Is Removed

Portland, OR – Rioters set fire to the occupied Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse on Thursday night, just hours after the security fence that has protected the building for months was removed.

They mayhem began early in the afternoon, when a group of about 30 people barged into an office building located in the 1300-block of Southwest 5th Avenue at approximately 2:24 p.m., the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said in a press release.

Some members of the group brought animals with them, while others smoked inside the building.

They refused to leave, prompting the PPB to respond.

“The situation escalated when people began damaging property, including a television…and the front doors to the building,” the department said.

The suspect who damaged the television was later located on the courthouse steps in the 1000-block of Southwest 3rd Avenue.

“He resisted the arrest, and an officer was punched in the face,” the PPB said.

The suspect, 22-year-old Darby Howard, was subsequently arrested for resisting arrest and first-degree criminal mischief.

Dozens of protesters who claimed to be supporting indigenous people marched through the downtown area during the afternoon carrying signs reading, “Protect the land, end America,” KOIN reported.

One video showed a group of rioters trying to force their way into a Chase Bank location.

A security officer ended up pulling his duty weapon during the confrontation, the video showed.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s public safety advisor, Robert King, said the demonstration and other similar events have been organized by a group of “self-described anarchists,” according to the news outlet.

A mob of about 50-60 rioters dressed in black clothing converged on the courthouse later that evening and proceeded to spray paint graffiti on the building and to tear down plywood that had been placed over the windows earlier in the day, KOIN reported.

A video from the scene showed members of the antifa group as they tried to force their way into the building and banged on the glass doors and windows of the lobby.

“F—k the United States!” they yelled. “You’re f—king weak! Come outside…you don’t f—kin’ scare me, b—h!”

Other rioters set fire to the building and smashed out windows.

Federal Protective Services (FPS) officers spent about two hours putting out fires and pushing the mob away from the building, KOIN reported.

They deployed tear gas, smoke bombs, flash-bang grenades, and used other less-lethal munitions during the violent uprising, and arrested or detained an unknown number of rioters, according to The Oregonian.

Another demonstration is slated to take place in the Pearl District on Friday, KOIN reported.

King said PPB has “staffed up” in anticipation of the next protest.

“We are aware of the event that’s been advertised for [Friday],” he told KOIN. “The mayor will meet this week with the Acting US Attorney to talk more about this group and potential assistance from the US Attorney’s office and other federal entities to hold individuals involved in this conduct accountable.”

PPB Deputy Chief Chris Davis said residents should try to ignore rioters if they come to their area, and suggested they try to take photos or videos of them to give to police, KOIN reported.

“With this group, this is a small group that is bent on destroying things. And what they want is a conflict. My advice is — don’t give them a conflict,” Chief Davis suggested.

The PPB put out a tweet encouraging demonstration organizers to contact the department for help with their events.

“Demonstration Liaison Officers (DLOs) are available to work with community members organizing these events,” the agency said. “DLOs work with event organizers to better ensure a safe environment for event participants and non-participating community members.”

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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