Culture

Police Officers Assaulted at Portland Riot

Sergeant punched, others sprayed with chemical agent

Protesters in Portland, OR, walk past a dumpster fire / Getty Images

Rioters assaulted multiple police officers at a Monday night anti-police gathering in Portland after Multnomah County police declined to assist city police forces, citing Democratic mayor Ted Wheeler's ban on certain crowd control measures. 

A crowd demanding the dissolution of police and the closing of prisons gathered at Kenton Park and marched to the Portland Police Association building. After officers warned demonstrators not to block street traffic, the crowd began throwing water bottles and rocks at cops. One rioter punched a sergeant, who was then taken to the hospital, and other rioters sprayed five officers with an unknown chemical agent. 

Last week, Portland Police Bureau deputy chief Chris Davis asked Multnomah County sheriff Mike Reese for backup after hearing of two protests planned for Saturday. Reese declined the request, citing Wheeler's tear gas ban, which leaves police "with no sound tactical options to quickly disperse a large crowd engaged in dangerous acts of violence." 

Wheeler implemented the tear gas ban earlier this month as violent protests entered their 100th straight night. At the time, he also told his neighbors he planned on moving out of his condominium, which the protesters have targeted. Some groups have called for the mayor to resign, citing his inability to keep Portland safe. 

Portland's protests lulled for a few days last week as fires sweeping the West Coast compromised the city’s air quality. They began again last weekend, heightened by Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron's Wednesday announcement that a grand jury had not directly charged the officer who killed Breonna Taylor for her death.