News & Politics

Antifa Rioters With Shields, Body Armor Turn Residential Portland Into a War Zone

Portland riots explosion (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The streets of Portland again became a war zone on Friday night, as antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters with large plastic shields and body armor blocked traffic and hurled mortar fireworks, concrete, and rocks at police near the Penumbra Kelly police building in a residential neighborhood. As police broke up the riot on the 70th straight night of rioting in Portland, some antifa rioters trespassed onto a man’s property. He told them to leave in no uncertain terms.

A group of about 200 rioters gathered at Laurelhurst Park near the Kelly building between around 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The rioters began marching toward the Kelly building, with “support vehicles” escorting them and blocking “all vehiclular traffic,” Portland Police reported. Police told the rioters that if they stepped onto the building property, they would be subject to arrest.

As police arrested members of the mob, rioters threw rocks at officers and blocked all lanes of traffic. “Several people in this group wore helmets and gas masks as well as carried shields,” the police reported.

Police told the mob of antifa rioters to disperse, but they continued to block traffic and trespass onto the Kelly building property. Rioters began taking concrete pieces off of a retaining wall and chucking them at police officers. Others smashed the concrete on the ground into pieces and hurled them at police. Others shined lasers that can cause permanent eye damage at police officers.

Police said this brawl continued for hours. The footage is terrifying.

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At least one rioter wore ballistic body armor.

Police stopped a vehicle and arrested a rioter for shining a laser at police. At 12:10 a.m., antifa rioters began chucking frozen or hardboiled eggs, rocks, and commercial fireworks at officers in the parking lot. At 1 a.m., both Oregon State Police and Portland Police began dispersing the crowd.

As the antifa mob dispersed, rioters continued to hurl rocks, bottles, and explosives at police. Rioters attempted to stop police vehicles using pool noodles filled with nails, apparently intending to rip up tires. “One police vehicle suffered extensive tire damage,” the police reported.

Despite all of these attacks on police officers, Portland Police did not use any tear gas.

Were antifa rioters attempting to commit murder?

On Thursday, Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Portland) finally vocally condemned the violent antifa rioters after the mob tried to burn down the Penumbra Kelly building on Wednesday night.

“The attack was immediate, it was intentional, and it was planned. It was intended to cause serious injury or death, and it very well could have,” Wheeler said at a press conference. “When you commit arson with an accelerant, in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people that you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating. You are attempting to commit murder.”

The rioters did not get close enough to the Kelly building to try to burn it down on Friday night, but they did throw concrete, rocks, and fireworks at police — and they attempted to blind them with lasers. These attacks may short of “attempting to commit murder,” in Wheeler’s words, but they are very serious assaults nonetheless.

Wheeler urged peaceful protesters to stay away from the crowds that would devolve into violent antifa riots. “If you are a non-violent demonstrator, and you don’t want to be part of intentional violence, please stay away from these areas. Our community must say that this violence is not Portland, that these actions do not reflect our values, and these crimes are distracting from reform, not advancing it,” he said.

Antifa rioters may think of police officers as agents of a “fascist” system, but they are human beings: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and citizens.

This violent brawl — complete with commercial-grade fireworks — took place in a residential neighborhood.

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Portlander boots antifa off his property

As police dispersed antifa rioters, the mob spilled out into the nearby neighborhood. A video captures rioters climbing onto a man’s backyard deck as they scrambled from the scene of the crime. The man tells rioters “Get off my property!” At one point, a woman in the mob shouts, “The cops did this to your house!”

On Thursday, Wheeler told Portlanders not to abet the violent antifa mob. This brave man stood on his deck without any armor or helmet as rioters decked out in armor who had been throwing concrete and fireworks at police just a few moments earlier descended on his property. Disturbed in the wee hours of the morning, he got out to give the violent mob a piece of his mind.

The citizens of Portland lean extremely left. Many of them may support the radical positions of this antifa mob. Yet this man represented the citizens of Portland who have been harassed and disturbed for more than two months by nightly antifa riots. The federal courthouse, which rioters attacked for months, is not in a residential neighborhood. The Kelly building is, however, and every night of violent riots in such a neighborhood shows Portlanders the true violent nature of these “peaceful protests.”

More adults need to stand up and say, “Enough!” Tragically, violence like this is likely to continue. Wheeler may have belatedly realized that President Trump isn’t responsible for the violent acts of an antifa mob of rioters, but it still seems local law enforcement is unwilling to respond to these riots with force. Portland Police did not even use tear gas during the riot on Friday!

This violence needs to stop.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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