Several dozen Portland police officers moved on protesters gathering in a North Portland park Monday night, sweeping through the park, confiscating homemade shields and other items in advance of a planned march.

The new tactic clearly caught the protesters off guard, temporarily splintering the crowd and delaying — at least for a time — the planned march to a nearby police union office. The crowd eventually regrouped and marched as planned, and police declared the event an unlawful assembly.

Two dozen people were ultimately arrested, primarily on accusations of interfering with police and disorderly conduct.

Here are the key takeaways from the protest and police action.


Armored officers swept through Kenton Park, where protesters had gathered, and seized homemade shields prior to the planned march.

A scuffle broke out when officers tried to confiscate a picket sign that read “vote,” multiple videos showed.

Police said they arrested some people who interfered with officers. Police also deployed pepper spray.

Officers filtered through the crowd, shining flashlights at people’s faces, as well. A journalist for The Oregonian/OregonLive heard one officer say they were looking for a particular person.

It wasn’t clear whether officers found that person.


Police said officers saw demonstrators carrying shields and wearing body armor and helmets, as is commonplace at Portland demonstrations against racial injustice.

“The posture of the gathering suggested that it would become violent, as many such gatherings have been over the past 120-plus days,” Portland police said in a news release.

“To lower the likelihood that members of the gathering would use the shields to protect those intent on committing crimes such as throwing objects at police, officers moved into the park and seized numerous shields.”

Police said they eventually disengaged and told demonstrators they could protest in the park but didn’t have a permit for a street march.


Demonstrators marched on the sidewalk to the Portland Police Association office — which has been a frequent target of protests, as well as graffiti and attempts at more serious property damage, including fires.

As about 150 protesters arrived at the union office, police announced via loudspeaker that nearby streets remained open to auto traffic and that the sidewalk in front of the union building was closed. People who stood there, police said, could be subject to force including impact munitions and pepper spray.


Some demonstrators nonetheless stood in the street. A handful stood in front of the building and tagged the building with graffiti.

Officers arrived shortly after, standing in the roadway between the largest group of protesters and the union building. Police made several arrests and surrounded the building, preventing protesters from approaching.

Police eventually departed but returned shortly after and charged into the crowd in what appeared to be an attempt to make targeted arrests. Officers declared the event an unlawful assembly minutes later and ordered protesters to leave. Few did until a police line began marching toward the crowd.


Twenty-four people were arrested. The vast majority are accused of interfering with a peace officer, disorderly conduct or both charges.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has said his prosecutors won’t pursue demonstrators accused of those charges, among others, if the allegations don’t involve “deliberate” property damage, theft or force against another person, or threats of force.

Portland police said a sergeant was punched in the face during the demonstration and was taken to a hospital. Five other officers were sprayed with a chemical, according to police.

Some people who were arrested had weapons such as knives and chemical spray, police said.

One person ran from police and threw a baseball bat at pursuing officers, according to police. That person wasn’t caught.

A driver associated with the protest was also cited after officers saw him driving dangerously, according to police. Officers found a loaded handgun in the car, according to police, who said an investigation into the gun is ongoing.


Monday marked four months of protests against police violence and systemic racism following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer.

It was also just days after a grand jury declined to indict Louisville, Kentucky, police officers in the shooting death of a Black woman, Breonna Taylor, during a botched drug raid in March.

It came after a weekend in which Gov. Kate Brown put the Portland Police Bureau under the command of Oregon State Police during dueling events held by far-right groups and counter-protests affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Members of the Police Bureau’s rapid response teams, which police protests, were deputized as federal officers.

The officers will retain the federally conferred authority until the end of the year, police said Monday. The action will allow federal prosecutors to bring allegations of assault on a federal officer if the deputized Portland police officers face attacks from any demonstrators. It will also allow the officers to make arrests for other federal offenses.

Federal crimes typically carry stiffer sentences.

— Beth Nakamura and Jim Ryan


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