Almost two months into nightly anti-police brutality protests in Portland, the city continues to burn — literally on Saturday night.
Portland, Ore., police declared a riot late Saturday after protesters allegedly broke into the Portland Police Association building and set a fire, which was quickly put out, according to officials.
Protesters with the PNW Youth Liberation Front flipped dumpsters outside the headquarters to create a barricade around 10:45 p.m. local time, then set fire inside, the Oregonian reported.
Portland police officers deployed tear gas to clear the scene outside the union office and video shared by a Portland Tribune reporter showed a federal police officer hitting a protester multiple times with a baton.
Clashes between police and protesters have worsened over the weekend after President Donald Trump deployed federal officers to Portland, a move opposed by local and state leaders.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced Friday that she plans to sue the United States Department of Homeland Security, the United States Marshals Service, the United States Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Protection Service and their agents for engaging “in unlawful law enforcement in violation of the civil rights of Oregonians by seizing and detaining them without probable cause.”
“I share the concerns of our state and local leaders – and our Oregon U.S. Senators and certain Congressional representatives – that the current escalation of fear and violence in downtown Portland is being driven by federal law enforcement tactics that are entirely unnecessary and out of character with the Oregon way. These tactics must stop," Rosenblum said in a statement.
“They not only make it impossible for people to assert their First Amendment rights to protest peacefully. They also create a more volatile situation on our streets. We are today asking the federal court to stop the federal police from secretly stopping and forcibly grabbing Oregonians off our streets, and we are announcing a state criminal investigation, with the Multnomah County District Attorney, into the incident resulting in serious injuries to a peaceful protester — apparently committed by a federal police officer in downtown Portland last week.”
The U.S. attorney for Oregon, Billy Williams, also announced Friday that he is launching an investigation into reports that federal law enforcement officials had “detained two protestors without probable cause.”
“What is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the United States,” Jann Carson, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, told the Oregonian. “Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping. The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.”
President Trump, meanwhile, has defended the tactics, tweeting Sunday that law enforcement officials are “trying to help Portland, not hurt it” and referring to the protesters as “anarchists and agitators.”
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