Antifa sets Portland ICE building on fire intentionally trapping officers inside during another night of violence

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PORTLAND, OR –  Violence continued in Portland this weekend as protesters attacked the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, setting fire to the outside of the building while officers were trapped inside.

Video from the scene shows federal agents react by firing non-lethal munitions into the crowd of rioters dressed in trademark Antifa black clothing.

Just before midnight, Antifa protesters gathered at the ICE building for a planned protest, according to independent journalist Grace Morgan. Morgan documented the events of the night on her Twitter account:

“I’m at the ICE facility in Portland OR, for a big, planned protest. So far close to 100 black bloc have gathered and more are arriving every minute.”

“Black Bloc “ is a term used to describe a radical anarchist group whose members dress in all black to conceal their identities while protesting. The style has been adopted by the left-wing Antifa movement.

Antifa has targeted the ICE facility for months. Last night, the rioters smashed windows and eventually set fire to the front of the building. The violence started out slowly, with protesters lighting a small fire in the driveway and throwing eggs at the facility. Morgan wrote:

“First ANTIFA fire of the night has already kicked off, so far people are just warming their hands on this cold night.

“A small fire is started in the ICE driveway among broken glass bottles, a flair is thrown over the gate, protesters throw eggs at the door. So far no response or sight of officers.”

The protesters took an ominous action when they dismantled a fence around the facility and used it to block the entrance doors to the building, trapping ICE officers inside. At that point, federal agents used loudspeakers to warn the protesters against trespassing. Morgan tweeted at the time:

“Parts of the fence around the ICE facility in Portland or have been dismantled by protesters & laid against the main entrances. Federal agents get on the loudspeaker & warn not to trespass, including press.”

After Antifa barricaded the officers inside, they obscured the security cameras preventing officers from observing what was occurring outside. The crowd then set fire to the front of the building with the federal officers inside.

The crowd was chanting, “Every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground” as the fire burned, according to independent journalist Andy Ngo:

“’Every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground.’ Antifa gives the BLM fist salute while the crowd cheers on the burning of the (ICE building) Portland facility last night. Officers were trapped inside when Antifa set the building on fire.”

A video posted by Ngo showed federal officers trying to exit the building but being blocked by the fencing against the front entrance.

Eventually, federal officers were able to respond to the attack from a rear exit, and fire crowd control munitions, including pepper balls, into the violent Antifa crowd.

After forcing the mob back, the officers were able to extinguish the fire and form a barricade in front of the building. The crowd continued to make threats towards officers. One video captured a man trying to get into a fistfight with an ICE agent.

The Portland Police Bureau has not commented on the violence. No injuries were reported.

Portland has been a center for violence since the killings of George Floyd in May 2020. Another high-profile shooting of an unarmed black man, Jacob Blake, which led to fatal violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin, fueled even more violence in Portland.

City leaders have been struggling with the violence, and have recently called for Antifa to end the siege of the city. At a March press conference, city leaders called on Trail Blazers player Terry Porter to call for an end to the rioting and protests:

“I’m speaking out today as someone who loves Portlanders and as someone who is deeply concerned about the future of our city. Let’s walk together as one Portland to show the country how we stand for humanity.”

 

 

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Portland plans to fight surge in gun violence with millions in funding for unarmed, unsworn park rangers

April 9, 2021

 

PORTLAND, OR- In an effort to curb a surge in gun violence, the City of Portland is nearly doubling its number of unarmed, unsworn Parks and Recreation Rangers, but they have zero intentions of sending any additional funding to the city’s police force.

On April 7th, the City Council unanimously passed a $6 million plan to combat a wave of shootings that have killed Portlanders at a record rate this past year. The plan reportedly sends $1.4 million to various community outreach programs.

The plan also allocates $1.4 million to hiring new Portland park rangers  to patrol the city parks as “goodwill ambassadors.” City commissioners said in a statement:

“They are eyes on the ground, ensuring that our parks remain welcoming public spaces and calling in police to intervene should violent situations arise.”

Portland Parks and Recreation (PPR) currently employs 24 full-time rangers year-round with another 11 positions during the summer. With the new plan, PPR will be able to hire another 24 rangers. 

According to the PPR’s spokesperson, rangers are trained in de-escalation techniques, anti-bias, first aid, and crisis intervention. They are also authorized to enforce city code related to park rule violations.

A PPR manager claimed that the agency’s workers are skilled and capable of helping to curb Portland’s problems with gun violence.

Portland for Positive Impact founder Randy Philbrick said that boosting the number of PPR rangers will not do much to deter crime and it will put the unarmed rangers at risk. He said:

“I know the level of respect they won’t get as we’ve already seen this week with a couple park rangers getting a Taser pulled on them. We’re setting these guys up for failure.”

The idea for this plan immediately drew pushback from some rangers, who said it turned them into unarmed park cops. The union representing those rangers, LIUNA Local 483, had not weighed in until Wednesday, April 7th, when it sent a written testimony to City Council.

In the letter, union organizer Ted Bryan, said that the union supports the city adding ranger jobs, but it is concerned that the public will think rangers are now police officers.

Bryan reminded commissioners that rangers can only issue citations to people breaking park rules and need police to help kick people out of parks. He wrote:

“Our presence in uniform may act as a deterrent for behavior that is inappropriate in parks, however, for some members of the public, the presence of uniformed city employees inspires a hostile reaction. We are not authorized, trained, or equipped to intervene in violent situations and certainly not in situations involving gun violence.”

He added:

“We ask you take this into account when considering the kinds of situations to which rangers may be safely and appropriately deployed.”

Bryan said that city council needs to at least provide PPR rangers with body armor in order to “protect them from projectiles and stab threats.”

Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said that the main purpose for in increased number of PPR rangers is just to make people feel like they are safer, not to have the rangers actually act as police. She said:

“What we know is that when people are visible out in the community, it reduces crime. It will mean more community members using public spaces, which means more eyes on the street, which means a reduction in crime.”

She discussed her conversation with Mayor Ted Wheeler about what would happen if rangers ran into people with guns. She said:

“The mayor asked me: ‘What are park rangers going to do if somebody starts shooting?’ I said, they’re going to call 911. No way do we want park rangers intervening. If someone pulls out their gun, they’d better call 911.” Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  

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