Federal police on Tuesday used crowd control munitions, including tear gas, to clear protesters from outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in South Portland.

Four people were arrested and jailed in the demonstration, which was declared an unlawful assembly. The protest was the latest in Portland’s months-long stretch of demonstrations against racial injustice, which have brought crowds to city streets nearly every night since late May.

Demonstrators assembled at South Portland’s Caruthers Park on Tuesday night and marched to the nearby ICE building, where someone eventually threw a smoke bomb onto the roof of the facility.

Portland police said rocks were thrown toward federal officers, as well.

Shortly before 11 p.m., officers came out from the building, deploying tear gas, shooting pellets and smoke bombs, and backing the crowd up and out of the area.

The crowd dispersed, then slowly gathered back near the ICE building. Police declared the demonstration an unlawful assembly, later citing “the seriousness of the crowd’s criminal behavior.”

A stalemate lasted about an hour, and Portland police eventually dispersed the crowd and made arrests. Officers were hit by thrown rocks while dispersing demonstrators, police said.

A small group returned to the building but had mostly dispersed by 1 a.m.

Portland police said their officers didn’t use crowd control munitions or tear gas.

Two of the four people arrested are accused of interfering with a peace officer and disorderly conduct. One is accused of only the latter charge.

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.

The other person arrested is accused of assaulting a public safety officer, disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer. One additional person was cited for unlawful sound amplification, police said.

— Jim Ryan and Beth Nakamura


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