PORTLAND — Portland’s police chief has denounced protesters who broke windows and set a fire to a business in the upscale apartment building where Mayor Ted Wheeler lives, labeling the events an escalation in the street violence that Oregon’s largest city has endured for months.
The demonstration began late Monday and stretched into the predawn hours of Tuesday, targeting Wheeler, who is also police commissioner and has been criticized for heading up a police force that has repeatedly used tear gas against the demonstrators.
The fire was set with a bundle of newspapers in a store housed on the ground floor of Wheeler’s building. There were no reports of major damage or injuries.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the demonstrators also wound up targeting other people who live in Wheeler’s building and have had nothing to do with the protests. Previously, the demonstrators have almost always clashed with police outside symbols of authority — police buildings and courthouses.
“The families that live inside have done absolutely nothing to provoke a threat to their lives. As I’ve stated repeatedly, the nightly violence is coming at increased cost,” he said. “This is impacting the safety of our entire city and urgent action is needed.”
Portland has endured nearly 100 days of nightly unrest following the police killing of George Floyd, including two weeks in July when thousands of protesters clashed with U.S. agents sent to protect the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse. Local police have arrested hundreds of people since Floyd’s death.
A supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer was killed Saturday amid clashes between dueling groups of protesters. A caravan of Trump supporters, estimated at about 600 cars, encountered Black Lives Matter protesters as they drove through the downtown and street fights broke out.
Police have not announced an arrest in the slaying of Aaron J. Danielson, 39, of Portland, and have disclosed no details about what led up the shooting.
On Tuesday, federal authorities said a Portland man had been charged with assaulting federal officers after crashing his sport utility vehicle repeatedly into a car carrying uniformed federal officers early Sunday.
According to court documents, the two Federal Protective Service officers deployed to Portland because of the ongoing protests were in a rental vehicle en route to their hotel on a highway. Authorities say Lonnie Vantewa Albert, 55, purposely crashed his vehicle into the one carrying the officers. He later allegedly struck the vehicle a second time.
Portland Police later arrested him. Efforts to locate an attorney for Albert weren’t immediately successful.