On Wednesday night, the third night of the Democratic National Convention and the 83rd night of riots in Portland, antifa rioters engaged in something of a pitched battle with police in front of an ICE field office. Rioters mobbed the building, banging on doors and aiming lasers at the eyes of officers inside. As police tried to break up the riot, antifa used large shields to push back against law enforcement, all the while hurling softball-sized rocks, glass bottles, and soda cans at the cops.
The police report reminded me of the ancient Greek hoplite warfare I read about as a youth: soldiers using large shields to push against each other’s lines, jockeying for a piece of land like football teams fighting desperately for every yard on the field.
Eventually, the antifa mob moved on, but the rioters did indeed return to the ICE office later in the night after setting fires at an intersection. Rioters blocked the streets mere blocks away from a hospital on the hill nearby, but it remains unclear whether any medical teams experienced any delays.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 20, 2020
Portland Police reported that about 200 people gathered to march to the ICE office at around 9:15 p.m., and vehicles associated with the crowd blocked traffic on the streets during the march. The rioters blocked traffic near the ICE building. Many rioters held shields and wore helmets and gas masks. They mobbed the building at 9:28 p.m., “shining lights and lasers at Federal officers located inside of the building.” Antifa rioters also “began kicking and banging on the doors and windows of the ICE building. The group was seen spray painting graffiti on the outside of the ICE building as well.”
DA Takes the Side of Rioters Over Cops, Emboldening Antifa and Leading State Police to Abandon Portland
Rioters had spray-painted, “Kill ICE!” and other messages.
Police declared the riot an unlawful assembly and ordered the crowd to disperse on pain of citation or arrest. Police also warned that they would use tear gas, crowd control munitions, or impact weapons if necessary. The crowd did not budge.
As police began to disperse the crowd, rioters hurled glass bottles and rocks at them. “Lots of people in the crowd carrying shields used the shields to resist officers’ efforts to disperse the crowd to the north,” the police reported.
Rioters “began setting up barricades in surrounding streets and even moved a dumpster towards the ICE building. In the past, dumpsters have been lit on fire and moved next to targeted buildings, in an attempt to set structural fires. Federal officers exited the ICE building and members of the group began throwing large rocks as well as glass bottles at them. The large rocks were described to be the size of softballs.”
Police again began to disperse the crowd and rioters hit officers with the large rocks, along with full cans of soda and a hammer.
The cops eventually got the rioters away from the building, but the mob set a fire in the middle of a nearby intersection, using a mattress and a picnic table stolen from a nearby business. “While the fire was burning, group members blocked the intersection and chanted loudly,” the police reported.
The mob again marched to the ICE office and began breaking the building’s windows. When police again moved to break up the riot, antifa rioters threw yet more large rocks and water bottles at them.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 20, 2020
Officers sustained minor injuries and they arrested two rioters.
The antifa rioters seem bent on wanton terrorism and destruction. As Victoria Taft reported yesterday, Portland antifa rioters set fire to a building containing the county’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Antifa rioters have a well-funded network that bails them out after they get arrested, and the local district attorney has announced he will not prosecute various crimes — even when rioters violently attack police. Businesses have started permanently shutting down and leaving Portland. Meanwhile, Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Portland), who waited for weeks before condemning the riots and tried to blame President Donald Trump for the violence, faces a self-described antifa challenger who refused to condemn the attempted murder of police officers.
Facebook has taken belated action, removing the pages of antifa groups that celebrate and incite the riots, but the rioters can still use other social media platforms to coordinate.
Meanwhile, the Democrats nominated Joe Biden — who accused Trump of sending federal law enforcement to crack down on “peaceful protesters” — and Kamala Harris, who urged Democrats to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which bailed out rioters in Minnesota. (Oh, and the fund also paid bail for defendants charged with murder, violent felonies, and sex crimes.)
Don’t expect the Democrats to address the violent riots in Portland — which have gone on for more than 80 days — at their convention.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.