PORTLAND, OR—On Thursday, August 15, over 60 emergency calls went unanswered in Portland as officers were dealing with hundreds of protestors downtown. 

It was the 80th night of consecutive protests in Portland since the killing of George Floyd and the second night in a row that authorities chased protesters through residential streets as neighbors watched from their homes. 

Hundreds of protesters blocked traffic on the 4700 block of East Burnside Street in front of the Penumbra Kelly Building, home to the Police Bureau. Protesters trespassed on closed property and threw objects at officers. The gathering was declared a riot around midnight on August 16, but protesters ignored warnings to leave and stayed until around 2:45 a.m. 

The Portland Police Bureau reported protesters threw river rocks at police vehicles in the building’s parking lot and spray-painted security cameras. Others pointed green lasers at officers’ eyes, which can cause permanent damage. Officers were hit by glass bottles and rocks; one rock weighed 9.5 pounds and was thrown by a person in the group wearing a “press” marking. Two officers struck with rocks went to the hospital.

Police dispersed the crowd through physical chase, using flash grenades and smoke as additional crowd control measures. A large group of protesters stumbled and fell on top of each other as they attempted to run away.

The protest led to the arrests of 11 people between the ages of 18 and 34, all were booked at the Multnomah County Detention Center. Charges range from riot to criminal mischief, to interfering with an officer to assaulting an officer and disorderly conduct. 

For the duration of the protest over 60 emergency calls from Portland were put on hold. Call types included those of theft, vandalism, hazards, hit and run, burglary, violation of restraining order, alarms, and stolen cars. 

A 17-hour crisis negotiation continued on Sunday, which has been the source of at least eight 911 calls this week. An armed suspect refused to hand himself over to police for mental health evaluation. He attempted to break into an occupied home, brandishing a knife, and left to barricade himself in Forest Park, where he currently remains. 

The newly elected Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt decided not to prosecute protesters arrested for non-violent misdemeanors. According to The Associated Press, 500 people have been arrested during the protests and fewer than 50 are being prosecuted. 

Daryl Turner, the Portland Police Association President, called for the city counsel to prosecute the people arrested in protests, including those charged with looting and arson. During a recent press conference Turner said:

“For over 40 days thousands of people have poured out in the streets calling for change. For over 40 days a small number of people have hijacked those calls for social justice and used the cover of peaceful protest to burn and loot our city. It’s enough.” 

“If the city council won’t stand up, we will,” he added.

More violence broke out on August 15. Alt-right protesters gathering for a rally clashed with counter-protesters outside the Multnomah County Justice Center, where each threw paintballs and sprayed pepper spray at each other. Counter-protesters reportedly chased some rally attendees into a parking garage and KOIN reporters heard what sounded like two gunshots outside the structure.  Authorities stated that they will investigate the incident. No injuries were reported.

Last week, Oregon State Police announced they are leaving the city after spending two weeks protecting a federal courthouse that has been the beacon of protests, and recently three riots, since federal troops left Portland in July.