‘Civil unrest’ erupts at Ventura Park; riot declared

This outer East Portland incident which started as part of a truly peaceful protest, degenerated into a full riot – complete with fire bombs. Meet some of the folks who came from out of town to join in, and were arrested

The day after a riot was declared in the Mill Park neighborhood near Ventura Park, SE Stark Street is scarred by the explosives and Molotov cocktails (crude fire bombs) hurled into the thoroughfare.

By David F. Ashton

It was promoted as a sit-in and march for Black Lives starting at 7:00 p.m. on September 6 in Ventura Park.  That’s located on the north side of SE Stark Street between SE 113th and 117th Avenues.  It began peacefully, by all accounts. Speakers presented their messages and read poems; some played music before an audience some estimate at several hundred people.

But, this, the 100th night of protesting in Portland, was like so many others – devolving into what officials were forced to declare a riot, starting about 9:00 p.m. It was then that a crowd of people pushed out of the park, heading westbound on SE Stark Street toward the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct facility seven blocks away, on SE 106th Avenue, across the street from Floyd Light Middle School.

Two hours after the peaceful protest began, it turned into an insurgence that spills into the street. Courtesy of KOIN News 6

“The East Portland Community Policing Center, East Precinct, is an active working police station, and has been the target of arsonists, vandals, and violence in past demonstrations,” reminded PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen, setting the stage.

“Many in the crowd were carrying large shields and were dressed in protective gear, including helmets, gas masks, body armor, and all-black clothing; it was clear that the intent of the crowd was not peaceful protest,” Allen observed.

Officers were positioned to block marchers from reaching East Precinct. Through a loudspeaker on a police vehicle, the crowd was told that the march would not be allowed continue west on SE Stark Street.

Protesters and law enforcement officers begin to clash in SE Stark Street. Courtesy of KGW TV News

“At about 9:15 p.m., as the crowd approached officers, individuals began throwing multiple fire bombs at officers; and, one of fire bombs set a community-member on fire,” described Allen. “This criminal activity presented an extreme danger to life safety for all community members, and prompted a declaration of a riot. The crowd was advised over loudspeaker that it was a riot, and they were to leave the area, to the east, immediately.”

Although warned that those that didn’t heed the admonition to leave would be subject to arrest, citation, or crowd control agents such as tear gas or impact weapons, some in the crowd began throwing illegal fireworks and shooting mortars at officers. Others were seen throwing rocks.

Explosives, smoke bombs, rocks and knives are found in the possession of several of the arrested suspects. PPB provided image

For the next four hours, the crowd did their best to meander through the Mill Park neighborhood, attempting to get to get around the police blockade and reach East Precinct.

“Officers moved ahead of the rioters to prevent them access to residential streets, so rioters lit fires in dumpsters, garbage cans, and wooden pallets in the street,” Allen reported.

After being hit by a commercial-grade firework, which burned through his glove, a PPB sergeant came away with a hand injury. PPB provided image

Several officers and troopers were struck by rocks in the head, arms, shoulders, and feet. Only their protective gear prevented serious injury.

“During numerous confrontations with officers, individuals launched attacks on law enforcement, including throwing objects,” said Allen.

Oregon State Police vehicles are damaged by rocks, including broken windows and scrapes and dents. PPB provided image

By the time this riot wound down, more than 50 people were arrested, at least two were wearing illegal body armor. “One suspect had a dagger, another had a knife,” Allen disclosed.

A 17-year-old juvenile, charged with Interfering with a Peace Officer, Riot, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, was released to a parent. And, a 15-year-old juvenile, charged with Riot, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, and who also had an outstanding warrant, was booked into Juvenile Detention.

“59 people arrested during the riot and were booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC); 43 of them were processed by the Portland Police Bureau,” summarized Allen.

Arsonists set fires in the street, as the riot continues. Courtesy of KOIN News 6

Clouds of tear gas fill the street, as protesters continue to challenge officers. Courtesy of Zane Sparling, Portland Tribune, via Twitter

Meet the “Out of Towners”
Six of those arrested and booked on charges including felony Riot, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, and/or Interfering with a Peace Officer were listed as having an “unknown residence – making it difficult to track them down if  the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office should decide to prosecute their crimes.

Traveling the farthest to be at this event, that was declared a riot, in outer East Portland – some 1,439 miles – is Cassandra Ann Tighe, 24, of New Mexico, charged with Riot (a Class C Felony), and the misdemeanors of Interfering with a Peace Officer, and Escape in the Third Degree. Although she lives far from Portland, Tighe was “Released on Own Recognizance”. MCDC booking photo

Coming 1,246 miles from Lakewood, Colorado, to the Mill Park neighborhood, Leslie Branch, 26, was booked on charges of Riot, Attempted Assault of a Public Safety Officer, Interfering with a Peace Officer, and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree. Like so many others, Branch was “Released on Own Recognizance”. MCDC booking photo

Joel David Beal, 32, traveled 1,212 miles from Skull Valley, Arizona, to take part in the evening’s activities; he’s charged with Riot, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree – and after booking was promptly “Released on Own Recognizance”. MCDC booking photo

Starting out from his residence, 114 miles north of Portland in Olympia, Washington, was John Mulkern, 33, booked on charges of Riot, of Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree. He, too was “Released on Own Recognizance”. MCDC booking photo

Ty John Fox, 23, traveled only 95 miles from Astoria here Oregon to participate; he was charged with Arson in the First Degree (a Class A Felony), Riot (a Class C Felony), Fourth Degree Attempted Assault, and Escape in the Third Degree. He was released. Release reason: “Pre Trial Supervision”. MCDC booking photo

Coming from nearby Hillsboro was Folajade Dgunfieitiani, 27, charged with Riot, Interfering with a Peace Officer. She was “Released on Own Recognizance”. MCDC booking photo

Alaric Dinh, 21, of Beaverton, Oregon was booked on charges of Riot, and Interfering with a Peace Officer. He, too is no longer in custody; Release reason: “Pre Trial Supervision”. MCDC booking photo

And, up from Tigard was Tony Girard, 34; booked on charges of Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Riot. He was “Released on Own Recognizance”. MCDC booking photo

(A reminder: All those arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.)

Cited at the incident and released, without formal booking, for “Interfering with a Peace Officer”, were Keisha Harrison, 30, who traveled 108 miles from Independence, Oregon; and, Mary Thompson, 41, of Springfield, Oregon, just 56 miles away from the riot. MCDC booking photo

“The response to this disturbance included Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team and Oregon State Police. In addition, PPB Precincts had to pull officers off patrol to assist, limiting our ability to respond to calls,” noted Allen. “At about 2:00 a.m., there ere still almost 150 ‘calls for police service’ holding in the City of Portland.”

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

Comments are closed.

© 2005-2020 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.