During the 87th night of violent antifa riots in Portland, rioters threw rocks, ceramic, paintballs, uprooted road signs, and a balloon filled with feces at cops near the North Precinct police station. They successfully lit the station’s awning on fire. After police finally put the fire out and cleared the area, rioters left a post-apocalyptic landscape in their wake.
A mob of more than 200 rioters, outfitted with armor, helmets, gas masks, black-bloc clothing, and shields, began the march at around 9:41 p.m. The antifa rioters marched to the North Precinct building, where rioters had previously attempted to burn down the station while trapping officers inside. As police blocked the streets, rioters lit a dumpster fire and pushed to toward the intersection. They also set a flatbed trailer up on its side as a shield.
“Almost immediately, from behind the shields and elsewhere, individuals began throwing chunks of ceramic, rocks, and glass bottles in the direction of the officers,” Portland Police reported. The rioters shined green lasers, capable of causing permanent eye damage, at officers’ eyes. They also chucked “at least one balloon filled with feces,” aiming to hit cops on the roof of the building.
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Police declared the gathering unlawful at 10:29 p.m., urging rioters to disperse on pain of citation, arrest, and the use of agents like tear gas. Cops remained back for about 30 minutes, giving rioters a chance to withdraw voluntarily. They did not take it.
Instead, rioters threw a commercial firework at the cops. They chucked bottles, paint bombs, rocks, and heavy metal screws at police vehicles. At least one rioter used a wrist-rocket-style slingshot to fire marbles at police. They pelted cops with paint bombs and rocks. Some rioters even uprooted traffic signs from the ground and threw them at police.
At 11:08 p.m., police declared the riot a riot and once again issued a warning to the rioters. As the cops prepared to clear the area, a rioter lit a canopy against the building on fire. The fire began to burn to the siding of the building, so officers on the roof used a fire extinguisher to put it out. As the officers used the extinguisher, rioters pelted them with rocks. They hit a lieutenant in the hand with ceramic, slicing his hand open.
Rioters also lit a second awning on fire.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 24, 2020
Finally, at about 11:30 p.m., police deployed tear gas, cleared the crowd, and made arrests. During this battle, rioters wearing “PRESS” on their clothing threw commercial-grade fireworks at the cops. Officers disengaged and the rioters surged, leading to another round of arrests. After a third round of aggressive police action, the mob finally cleared. Police arrested 23 rioters.
During the fighting, rioters scrawled an officer’s home address on the side of the building, likely in an attempt to terrify and target him and his family.
Portland Police reported that the battle required the cops to divert 35 officers from patrol, “severely limiting call response.” As the riot finally drew to a close, “there were 80 calls holding in the city, ranging from shots fired, car crashes, welfare checks, priority threats, missing persons, and more.”
Every time rioters take up police time in these disgusting and dangerous attacks, they divert the cops from keeping the peace elsewhere in the city. They force the cops to stop looking for missing persons, stop attending car crashes, and stop addressing potentially dangerous situations where a police officer might end up saving lives. Rioters may intend to make a statement about just how pointless the police are, but in reality, they are merely demonstrating the essential roles cops perform.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.