PORTLAND, OR – Protests turned violent Friday night in downtown Portland as two protesters were arrested after one shined a laser pointer into federal agents’ eyes and another attacked a U.S. Marshal with a hammer.
Officials took to Twitter to say 23-year-old Jacob Gaines was seen “breaking down a door of the Federal Courthouse with a hammer creating a hole in the door.”
As Marshals moved in to stop Gaines from damaging the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, he reportedly hit one of the agents three times with the 16-inch sledgehammer.
Cheers to U.S. Attorney Billy Williams and @USAO_OR for bringing a federal felony charge against "Jacob Michael Gaines, 23, a Texas man currently residing in a recreational vehicle in Portland" for attacking a federal agent with a hammer.https://t.co/d8dxmWKHra
— 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) July 13, 2020
Gaines was subsequently arrested and now faces one count of assault on a federal officer. The marshal avoided serious injury.
A second incident occurred at the same protest when 24-year-old Edward Carubis reportedly shined a green laser into the eyes of at least three different federal agents. The agents suffered watery eyes and blurred vision as a result of the laser.
One agent reported that he developed a sunspot that obscured his vision for roughly 20 minutes after the attack.
Portland police say they arrested 5 people overnight on multiple charges. One person is accused of pointing a laser. https://t.co/Z5Sx9IT0Cm
— KOIN News (@KOINNews) July 14, 2020
After Carubis was detained by police, they recovered a homemade shield that had been fashioned using an umbrella and a trash can. Carubis also faces one felony charge of assault on a federal officer.
As of Monday, both men remain in custody.
It was reported last week that Homeland Security had been deployed to the Portland area after President Trump publicly called out Portland officials for their lack of response to the protests, which have now been ongoing for six weeks.
The arrival of federal agents comes during a tense time for the city of Portland. In the days following the death of George Floyd, protests and demonstrations in the city have regularly attracted over 10,000 Black Lives Matter protesters.
While speaking recently at a military base in Miami, Trump told acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf things there are “out of control.”
Trump also said:
“The locals couldn’t handle it and you people are handling it very nicely.”
After the deployment of numerous agents from federal agencies to Portland, there have been several arrests at #antifa riots. The agents are not subject to the same hand-tying placed on @PortlandPolice. I will name those arrested & charged in this thread. #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/xrNYUG9Gso
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 7, 2020
DHS presence in Portland comes after Trump issued an executive order on June 26 to protect monuments across the country from being damaged or defaced by protesters.
In his July 3 speech at Mount Rushmore, Trump, who has denounced the Black Lives Matter movement, made reference to “the violent mayhem we have seen in the streets of cities that are run by liberal Democrats,” as well as the “merciless campaign to wipe out our history.”
Following the executive order, the DHS created a new task force dedicated to protecting American communities. This new task force is made up of officers from Border Protection, Customs, and other federal agencies.
One of the main focuses of DHS during this time has been improving the coordination of local law enforcement.
The Federal Protective Service, whose duties include protecting federal government buildings, falls under the umbrella of the DHS. Unfortunately, the FPS has been spread very thin in the wake of such a high number of sustained protests across the country.
The agency simply does not have the resources to deal with the current situation in Portland, and in similar situations around the country.
Portland police say that the nightly protests have shut down much of the downtown area, and that the violence they have seen is unprecedented.
Portland Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said:
“We’ve never seen this intensity of violence and focused criminal activity over this long period of time.”
It seems that the presence of federal agents is helping in Portland, as photos of Carubis were sent to “plainclothes agents working in the crowd” prior to his arrest, according to the affidavit filed against him.
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Here’s more on the situation in Portland.
According to authorities, during a protest that started Saturday night, federal law enforcement officers used tear gas and crown-control munitions on those who were protesting near Portland’s federal courthouse.
According to the Seattle Times, federal officers at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse asked for help from city police at about 2 a.m. Sunday after protesters resisted arrest and threw bottles at them.
The Portland Police Bureau said that announcements were made for protesters to leave the area and the crowd finally dispersed around 3:20 a.m.
Portland Police told those near the Justice Center and Federal Courthouse to refrain from lighting fires. Smoke enters the Justice Center and creates an unhealthy atmosphere for people inside including employees and persons in custody. Lighting fires may result in arrest.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) July 13, 2020
According to the police, during the protest, fires were started in trash cans and dumpsters, but no buildings were threatened. One person was arrested on suspicion of unlawfully pointing a laser.
Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reports that friends and family of a demonstrator say a 25-year-old man was struck in the head and injured by an impact munition fired by the authorities.
Video posted to social media shows the man apparently being struck in the head while holding a speaker loft.
Desiree LaBella, the mother of Donavan LaBella, said that her son suffered facial and skull fractures. He had surgery and came out early Sunday morning and was able to respond to the doctors. His mother said to OPB:
“He was awake enough to give me the OK to talk to me. He’s had some facial reconstruction surgery. They’re just watching him right now.”
In a statement, Governor Kate Brown called for federal officials to scale back their response to the protests, which have consistently taken place for the last six weeks following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Brown said in her statement:
“The events of last night at the federal courthouse were the tragic and avoidable result of President Donald Trump, for weeks, continuing to push for force and violence in response to protests.”
Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty criticized the federal officers. In a statement she said:
“This reckless and aggressive behavior has not put someone in the hospital. This protester is still fighting for their life and I want to be clear, this should have never happened. If this continues a life will be taken and it won’t matter whether a federal officer or a Portland police officer did it, it won’t bring that person back.”
Portland’s Deputy Police Chief, Chris Davis said in a statement:
“Agitator corps of violent protesters are responsible for vandalism and chaos in the city.”
Chief Davis made a distinction between Black Lives Matter protesters, who he said were not violent and a smaller group pf people he repeatedly called “agitators.”
Below is an update on the incident from the Portland Police Bureau:
“On July 12, 2020 people began gathering in Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square near SW 3/SW Main at about 6 p.m. People socialized, ate food, banged drums, and listened to speeches.
At about 10 p.m. the group began blocking traffic on SW 3rd and on SW main. By 10:30 p.m. a bonfire was burning in what used to be water troughs at the base of the old elk statue in the middle of SW Main.”
“The crowd remained in both parks and in the streets for the rest of the evening. Throughout the evening people dragged plywood from nearby construction sites or boarded up buildings to keep the fire burning.
People fired Roman-Candle and bottle rocket fireworks toward the Justice Center.
People lit a large bonfire in the middle of the east crosswalk at SW Main/SW 3rd. At one point, people set wood on fire that members of the crowd had propped against the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse. A person fired objects from a wrist rocket toward the U.S. Courthouse.”
“At about 1:30 a.m., the crowd gathered around the large bonfire in the crosswalk and built it up by burning plywood, cardboard, paper, and other debris.
Portland police officers approached SW 3/SW Main at about 2:30 a.m. to make the scene safe so Portland fire & rescue would put out the bonfire.
Portland police made public address announcement for the crowd to leave the area. As Portland fire & rescue approached, someone fired a ball bearing from a wrist rocket at the firefighters.
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Deputies assisted Portland Police making the scene safe. Once the fire was extinguished, police and deputies disengaged. “
“Some of the remaining crowd congregated in the intersection and began moving park benches from Lownsdale Square into the intersection.
Others moved more plywood and other debris into the intersection. Portland Police made public address announcements to stop lighting fires for the safety of those present.
Some in the crowd ignored the announcements and built a new fire which others put out. The crowd slowly dwindled over the next hour.”
Small Crowds and small fires around Chapman and Lownsdale https://t.co/U24UfJBOvI
— Portland Police News (@PPBPIO) July 13, 2020
Riots cost Portland $23 million. City leaders don’t seem to have a plan to end them – but the police union does.
PORTLAND, OR – Portland Oregon has reportedly suffered $23 million in damages and customer loss due to violent nightly protests.
Rioters have converged nightly into downtown Portland, looting, vandalizing, and throwing projectiles at police. Politicians have none nothing but pander to the mob, and have so far not condemned this violence, save for a string of tweets from Mayor Ted Wheeler.
These attacks undermine public safety in our community, and they harm the very people and businesses we need to be lifting up.
I am grateful that no one has died in Portland, but other cities have not been so fortunate.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) July 3, 2020
Now, Portland Police Association (PPA) is taking action. More on that in the second half of this article.
For over a month police have responded to criminal activity in downtown Portland and in other neighborhoods that has caused millions of dollars in damage and has threatened human life and safety. pic.twitter.com/bdEHYENfqr
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) July 8, 2020
Of the damage from the rioting, Deputy Chris Davis stated:
“There’s a very big difference between protests and the kind of mayhem that we’ve seen every night. … The Black Lives Matter movement is not violent. The story that we’re going to talk about today is about a small group of agitators that is attempting to hijack that message and use it as a cover for criminal activity.”
The protests are now in their sixth week. Protesters and some politicians were not happy with the use of tear gas used by police, but with the fairly large group of rioters growing in numbers, it’s unclear how they expect officers to control the group.
PPA President Daryl Turner discussed Wednesday at a press conference on FOX12 the need for peace for all residents of Portland, as well city safety as protests continue nightly.
“For forty days, thousands of people have poured out onto the streets calling out for change. For over 40 days a small number of people have hijacked those calls for social justice and use the cover for peaceful protest to burn and loot our city. It’s enough.
“Over half a million people call this city home. All of Portland deserves safety, security and a nonviolent platform to speak their minds.”
He also expressed his lack of confidence with the City Council:
“I have no confidence that city council will stand up for all of Portland.
“I have no confidence that the city will stop the rioting, the looting and protect the safety and livelihood of Portlanders.
“I have no confidence that the City Council will guide the PPB forward to a new era of policing that prioritizes community safety, equity, reform, and police funding.
“I have no confidence that City Council respects and supports its rank-and-file officers who work tirelessly to better our community.
“I have no confidence that City Council wants to be part of the solution that closes the divide between police and our communities.”
PPA Prez Daryl Turner didn't get a response from City Council after publishing a statement asking them to "defend Portland," so he penned another one: pic.twitter.com/IQX7T3cg3n
— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) July 8, 2020
According to KGW8 on June 17th, The Portland City Council has passed the 2020-21 budget 3-1 with plans to cut $15 million from the police bureau, taking away 84 positions. Current requests for defunding the department was at $50 million according to Unite Oregon.
City council Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty tweeted in a series of tweets yesterday:
“While the PPA came out this morning with a vote of no-confidence in City Council, I remain undeterred and continue to work on the change demanded by the public.”
KATU2 received word from Hardesty in response to Portland Police Association’s (PPA) President Daryl Turner statements:
“This is not an unusual tactic when the public tide turns against the PPA or no longer allowing them to dominate the dialogue around policing and I will continue to work on change as the public demands and will not be intimidated by them.”
Turner’s “tactic” includes real solutions, which he wrote of in a press release:
“Our City Council should stand up and remind our communities that we must work to heal our City, not destroy it. Violence in our streets does not fix social and racial inequities. Burning down the Justice Center or destroying a federal courthouse brings no one justice.
“If City Council won’t stand up for Portland, we will. The PPA will be pushing two initiatives forward that are focused on community safety, police funding and reform, and internal and external racial equity.
The Portland Police Association announced its leadership voted unanimously that they have no confidence that the city will stop the rioting, looting, and vandalism that they have seen over the last 40 days.https://t.co/QO9pgOJOgO
— KATU News (@KATUNews) July 9, 2020
“Pastor Rev. J.W. Matt Hennessee and I will hold standing, quarterly roundtables that bring together police and our community.
We will be inviting members of the faith community, local community members, local law enforcement executives, local law enforcement officers, and local and state elected officials to attend.
The simple act of sitting together and talking can be profound. We want change. We want healing.
We want to ensure that we protect all Portlanders and give them a constructive, meaningful opportunity to speak openly and freely about social and racial justice. To get there, we must continue to engage with one another. We must continue to have difficult conversations.
“We won’t stop there. The words “police reform” don’t scare us. In my 29-year career, I have evolved daily as a person and as a police officer.
And every day, the Police Bureau has grown and improved as an organization. Now is the time to continue growing, improving, and evolving.
Defunding police in our City will not improve or reform the police. To reach those goals, we must invest in our Police Bureau.
To that end, the PPA has announced an eight-part reform platform based on reasonable and constructive efforts to improve policing services for all of Portland, available at www.fundpolicereform.org.”
As of the time of this writing, no politicians have responded to Turner’s statement.
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