PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — About 200 people, some wielding homemade shields, clashed with police early Friday for the third consecutive night as two other Black Lives Matter rallies proceeded peacefully elsewhere in the city, authorities said.
The demonstration with unrest came hours after Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler pleaded for protesters to stay off the streets, saying those who barricaded the doors to a police precinct the night before and tried to set it ablaze were not demonstrators, but criminals.
Wheeler said, “When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder.”
The chaos that started Thursday night and lasted into Friday morning in a residential neighborhood about six miles from downtown marked the 70th night of unrest. Police arrested 12 adults and detained one 17-year-old on suspicion of charges ranging from interfering with a police officer to rioting.
Early Friday, as peaceful demonstrations proceeded elsewhere in the city, a group of people gathered at a park in eastern Portland and marched to the local police precinct, where authorities say they spray-painted the building, popped the tires of police cars, splashed paint on the walls, vandalized security cameras and set a fire in a barrel outside the building. One officer was severely injured by a rock, police said, but no additional details were provided.
An older woman who tried to stop the vandalism was hit with a bucket of white paint and then got into a shouting match with those in the crowd as one protester tried to wrap her in yellow police tape — a conflict caught on video. Another elderly woman using a walker was also captured on video trying to put out a fire with a fire extinguisher while a black-clad protester blocked her way.
Tear gas was used by police on protesters Wednesday, but officers did not use it Thursday despite declaring the demonstration an unlawful assembly.