Rioters in Portland in the wake of the verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial started a fire and attacked businesses late Tuesday.
Video footage and photographs showed two Starbucks in the downtown area damaged.
An Antifa symbol was spray painted on one of the broken windows. Antifa is a far-left, anarcho-communist network that has members in Portland.
“Cops kill” and “stolen land” were also scrawled on the buildings.
Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment.
During the evening, a crowd started a dumpster fire near the Justice Center and blocked traffic, prompting authorities to lock the center to prevent unlawful entry into the building. Additionally, a person dressed in all black punched a police sergeant in the face.
The officer was wheeling his bike on the sidewalk when a different person stepped in his path. The sergeant moved the person aside and kept walking when he was decked in the head.
“The sergeant landed in a dangerous position, underneath the suspect and on his back. That’s when other officers moved in to stop the assault. In response to the violent conduct, some focused blows were used. Pepper spray was also deployed by an officer. After the suspect was handcuffed, officers rendered aid to help alleviate the effects of the pepper spray,” the Portland Police Bureau said in an incident summary.
The suspect was arrested and identified as Randy Gray, 36. He was charged with assaulting an officer, among other charges. Gray could not be reached for comment.
One other arrest was made.
Fliers for the night’s activities were circulated by far-left radicals who stated, in part: “We got the verdict now George Floyd can rest in peace! But we can’t forget about the others. Celebration of George’s Life and All Out for Duante Wright.”
Wright was fatally shot by a police officer earlier this month in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, after resisting arrest. The officer, Kim Potter, resigned and was charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted earlier Monday on all three counts in Floyd’s death.
Acting Police Chief Chris Davis said in a statement after the verdict was announced that he believed Chauvin’s actions were “beyond the bounds of the law and what we expect of police officers in the performance of their duties.” Portland Mayor and Police Commissioner Ted Wheeler said before the verdict that he hoped Chauvin would be convicted of murder.
Police declared an unlawful assembly after the destruction and demonstrations began winding down, the bureau said. The area affected by the criminal activity was contained within a few blocks.
Hours before the rioting, Wheeler declared a state of emergency.
The declaration states that there was expected to be peaceful demonstrations “to advance the racial justice movement” in the United States, but “criminal activity has sometimes coincided with otherwise peaceful demonstrations, with the criminal activity seeking to take advantage of the circumstances created by the peaceful demonstrations.”
The declaration gave police flexibility in responding to violent demonstrations.
Wheeler and other elected officials urged anarchist groups not to continue the rioting that they have fomented in Portland since spring of last year.
“A significant threat to our ability to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic towards a more equitable and inclusive Portland is the group of 100 or so largely white self described anarchists who engage in the criminal destruction of our economy and our confidence,” Wheeler, a Democrat, said.
“We all recognize the need for change and our public safety and criminal justice systems. We need to own up to the harms those systems have done in the past. Violence and destruction don’t have anything to do with this. People have a right to free speech. They also have a right to be free from violence and anarchy in their communities. We will do everything we can with the resources we have to protect the safety and uphold the rights of all,” added Davis.
Rioters damaged a slew of establishments the prior evening, including a Boys & Girls Club.
Terry Johnson, the club’s CEO, told KOIN that roughly $20,000 in damage was inflicted.
“They’re hurting the kids who are being impacted by social injustice, the very thing that people are protesting about,” Johnson said. “When they disrupt our programming, then they’re perpetuating that harm that’s happening because of the reform that’s needed in our country.”
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