PORTLAND, Ore. Protesters who broke windows, broke stores and started fires during demonstrations in Portland, Oregon caused significant damage, and authorities urged downtown businesses to check the security video to help police arrest more rioters.
Police said they have arrested four people so far after they called a riot during the demonstrations Friday night after police fatally shot a man responding to reports from a person with a gun.
“This destruction does not correspond to the values of the community and is not legitimized. It’s harming our city, our county and our state, “Multnomah District Attorney Mike Schmidt said in a statement on Saturday. “There are several criminal investigations going on to identify those responsible for last night’s crime.”
Police said they knew of plans for further demonstrations in Oregon’s largest city on Saturday night.
Late on Friday, officials dispersed the crowd so firefighters could put out fires before they spread at extreme risk of fire. In a statement, police said the damage from the nighttime violence “appears to be significant”.
Accurate estimates of the damage to buildings caused by the fires are not yet available, but police said looters stole approximately $ 2,000 worth of products from a Nike store before local security staff could stop the theft.
The downtown vandalism came after police shots the previous Friday and was part of vigils and demonstrations already planned for the night on behalf of people killed in police shootings across the country. These include 13-year-old Adam Toledo from Chicago and Daunte Wright, a black man in the Minneapolis suburbs.
Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis told reporters a white man in his thirties was shot dead by police in Portland. The man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime in Lents Park, which is in a leafy residential area of the city.
Two officers fired a 40mm device that fired non-lethal projectiles, and one officer – an eight-year veteran – fired a gun, police said in a statement. Police identified the officer who fired his gun as Zachary Delong. He has paid administrative leave, the authorities said.
Davis said he did not know if the man who died pointed a gun at the officers and did not say how many shots had been fired. A witness speaking to reporters on site said the man who took off his shirt and blocked an intersection appeared to have a mental health crisis, The Oregonian / OregonLive reported.
The police investigation into the shooting was hampered by a crowd of “fairly aggressive people” who showed up at the park within two hours of the shooting. Those arrested could face charges ranging from assaulting a public security officer to criminal offenses.
There were no reports of police injuries.
While investigators worked on the scene of the shooting, huddling over a covered body nearly 91 meters away, more than 150 people – many in black clothing and some with helmets, goggles, and gas masks – gathered behind the crime scene tape that was in front officers standing by them sings and yells at them.
The crowd later marched through the park, tore off the police tape and faced officers in protective clothing. Police left the park around 3:30 p.m., and the crowd eventually stood at a nearby intersection, blocking traffic and singing.
Police said they used pepper spray on protesters to keep them away.
Since the May police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Portland has been the scene of frequent protests, which often resulted in violent clashes between officials and protesters.
In the summer there were demonstrations for more than 100 consecutive days. Earlier this week, a crowd lit a fire outside the city police union headquarters after the recent deadly police shootings in Chicago and Minneapolis.
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