Police declared a riot Monday night in Portland, Oregon, after a group of about 200 people gathered to protest the police killing of a Black man in Minnesota. Members of the group lit fires; threw objects; vandalized a building that houses offices for multiple law enforcement agencies, including Portland police and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office; and broke windows, including those of a local church, according to police and local media reports.
The riots were in response to the police killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Body-camera footage showed an officer, wrongly believing she was holding her Taser rather than her sidearm, firing a single shot at Wright.
Protests started immediately in the community, which was already tense during the ongoing trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who faces murder charges for his role in the death of George Floyd in May 2020. More than a thousand miles away, Portland activists rushed to show solidarity.
Peaceful vigils started early in the evening in different parts of the city. Around 8:30 p.m., a black-clad crowd targeted a police building and surrounding areas.
RIOT PHOTOS. Rioters yelled "burn down the precinct" while throwing mortars at the building & officers guarding it -they also threw head sized rocks, ball bearings & glass bottles. A lot of profane graffiti and debris left behind at & around Penumbra building #portland @KOINNews pic.twitter.com/3uuY0POcuO
— Jenny Young (@jennytyoung) April 13, 2021
Some members of the group lit recycling cans on fire, according to local news reports. At one point, a resident tried to put out a blaze with a garden hose.
Neighbors allegedly reported thefts of landscaping bricks and other items which were then used as projectiles, according to police.
The emboldened crowd swarmed the MCSO plaza, breaking windows and ripping light fixtures down. Officers rushed and pushed them back into the street. Didn’t see any arrests. pic.twitter.com/8RaROAzW3N
— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) April 13, 2021
Police eventually declared an unlawful assembly and pushed the crowd back. Around 10:45 p.m., police said the situation had “devolved into a riot,” bull rushed the crowd, pushed people to the ground, and maced them, according to news reports and video from the scene.
PPB did not report making any arrests during Monday night’s unrest.
Here is a walk through of the damage at the Penumbra Kelly Building on East Burnside, after #portland police declared a riot last night. This is the latest #portlandriot in response to police killing #DaunteWright in #BrooklynCenter, Minnesota. #PortlandProtests pic.twitter.com/xZt0tE0g5r
— Elise Haas (@EliseKOIN) April 13, 2021
While the riot was happening on Portland’s east side, police said a separate group had cut through the chain link fence around a parking lot in North Portland, slashing tires and breaking out the windows of several police cars. The suspects were gone by the time police arrived, according to PPB.
Oregon’s largest city saw more than 100 continuous nights of protests and riots last summer after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Unrest aimed at police and other establishments slowed — but never fully stopped — over the winter.
Hannah Ray Lambert is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die who previously covered everything from murder trials to high school trap shooting teams. She spent several months getting tear gassed during the 2020-2021 civil unrest in Portland, Oregon. When she’s not working, Hannah enjoys hiking, reading, and talking about authors and books on her podcast Between Lewis and Lovecraft.
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