Portland chief: violent protests are happening “at increased cost”
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Portland Police Chief has denounced protesters who smashed windows and set fire to a business in the upscale apartment building where Mayor Ted Wheeler lives, calling the events escalating street violence that Oregon’s largest city has endured for months.
The protest began late Monday and continued until dawn Tuesday, targeting Wheeler, who is also a police commissioner and has been criticized for leading a police force who repeatedly used tear gas against the protesters.
The fire was started with a wad of newspapers in a store on the ground floor of the Wheeler building. There were no reports of significant damage or injury.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the protesters also targeted other people living in the Wheeler apartment building and had nothing to do with the protests. In the past, protesters have almost always clashed with police outside of symbols of authority – police buildings and courthouses.
“The families who live inside have done absolutely nothing to threaten their lives. As I have said many times, nighttime violence comes at an increased cost, ”he said. “This has an impact on the security of our entire city and urgent action is needed. “
Portland suffered nearly 100 days of nighttime unrest after the police murder of George Floyd, including two weeks in July when thousands of protesters clashed with U.S. agents sent to protect Mark O. Hatfield’s federal courthouse. . Local police have arrested hundreds of people since Floyd’s death.
A supporter of the right-wing Patriot Prayer group was killed on Saturday amid clashes between groups of dueling protesters. A caravan of Trump supporters, estimated at around 600 cars, encountered Black Lives Matter protesters as they made their way through downtown and street fighting erupted.
Police have not announced an arrest for the murder of Aaron J. Danielson, 39, of Portland, and have not revealed any details of what led to the shooting.
Wheeler said on his Facebook page that the vandalism had harmed a minority-owned business.
“Arson and terrorizing families with children does nothing but steal and distract from the important message of the racial justice movement. Community organizations that have encouraged or tolerated these actions are complicit, ”he said.
Wheeler added, “The community needs to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’ and hold us all accountable. We can’t really move forward together and make the positive changes we want to see until this violence stops. All the violence.