A “hostile crowd” prevented Portland police from investigating a stabbing at the site of nightly racial justice protests and rioting on Monday.
A woman had walked into Lownsdale Square park in downtown Portland and was taking photos or recording video just before 6:30 p.m. when an argument began between the woman and other people in the park.
The woman who had been taking photos then brandished a knife and stabbed another woman in the chest.
Officers were met with a “hostile crowd” on the scene and were forced to bring in reinforcements to the area. As police were trying to secure the crime scene, someone picked up the knife used in the stabbing and ran off with it, Portland police said.
Supervisors made the decision to disengage after officers could not safely conduct an investigation in the presence of the crowd.
The suspect fled the area but later returned and was interviewed by police. The victim, whom officers found a few blocks away at SW 5th Ave and SW Taylor Street, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The city has experienced months of rioting and unrest following the death of George Floyd, leading to the deployment of federal agents to the city. Rioters have repeatedly used violence to target the federal courthouse there, attacking federal law enforcement with various weapons including Molotov cocktails, and in some cases blinding officers with lasers.
While Oregon elected officials demanded the removal of federal law enforcement from the city, President Trump said “there would be no Portland” if Department of Homeland Security personnel had not been sent in.
A phased removal of federal law enforcement from the city began last week.