PORTLAND, Ore. — The Rose City has been experiencing protests and riots for over 60 days straight since George Floyd died while he was in Minneapolis Police custody in May. While most cities just experience protests, rioters in Portland have been heavily targeting the federal Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse and Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning was no different.
A fence had been erected around the perimeter of the courthouse to prevent agitators from trying to break into the building. As a result, rioters consistently throw all sorts of projectiles over the fence, such as rocks, bottles, and fireworks. Some in the crowd also try to start fires inside the fencing.
On Tuesday night and going into Wednesday morning, the Federal Protective Service gave the crowd multiple warnings to stop the destructive behavior, which was often met with jeers and boos. As the hours passed, more and more people infiltrated the perimeter. This resulted in federal officers having to go outside of the courthouse to push the crowd away from the fence and to put out the fires that had been set.
The federal officers used flashbangs, tear gas, and pepper balls to force people back, though the rioters used homemade shields and leafblowers to stand their ground. Once it became clear the crowd was not going to leave despite the less-than-lethal ordinance, federal officers came out into the street to clear people away.
While it proved to be effective for some time, once the officers pulled back, the crowd followed them and it went right back to where the evening started, with the crowd hurling projectiles at the officers who were within the fencing perimeter.
What would often happen is when I would go up to the fence to record the officers, some people would throw projectiles from directly behind me. I would have to dive for cover right before the officers responded to the thrown objects in my general direction.