Portland Police Declare Riot Amid Trash Fires on One-Year Anniversary of George Floyd’s Murder

Members of the group broke the windows of over a dozen businesses.

Dumpster fire extinguished Portland police and firefighters extinguish a dumpster fire on May 25, 2021. (Justin Yau)

Portland protesters seeking police abolition shattered shop windows, set fires in dumpsters and trash cans, and tossed fireworks at officers on the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.

While the anniversary brought out crowds in many major U.S. cities, Portland appeared to be the only city in the U.S. where that anniversary was marked by significant property destruction, continuing a pattern that city officials seem unable to control.

The number of people in the streets Tuesday night—approximately 200—was relatively small, but still presented a larger gathering than recent nighttime protests, which have averaged 50 to 100 in strength. Approximately half of the attendees wore identity-obscuring clothing called “black bloc” or “bloc,” which suggested collaboration between more radical and less radical local activists.

Members of the group broke the windows of over a dozen businesses: several Starbucks, the White Dress bridal boutique, Estate Jewelers, Indochino, Pinkham Millinery and Adorn.

Directly after people in black clothing broke the window of Adorn—a local, woman-owned clothes boutique—someone in the crowd asked, “Really? Adorn?”

“Fuck Adorn!” someone else in bloc replied.

mannequins A bridal shop mannequin was dragged from a window into the street on May 25, 2021. (Justin Yau) (Justin Yau)

The evening began in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center where a crowd assembled. Initially, members of the crowd set off fireworks and lit a plastic dumpster on fire. After Portland police declared the assembly unlawful, and doused the dumpster, the crowd marched en masse to City Hall. There they broke several windows and spray-painted anti-police messages like “ACAB” inside the building’s rotunda. At this point, police declared a riot.

The crowd moved through the downtown at an even clip, attempting to evade intervention by Portland police. The demonstration, which lasted from 9 pm to midnight, halted at many points as some marchers argued against property destruction.

Police seemed to circle the group for most of the night, using bicycle police and a riot van. Police reported five targeted arrests, but only one happened within sight of the main crowd.

Justice center fireworks Fireworks above the Multnomah County Justice Center on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's murder. May 25, 2021. (Justin Yau) (Justin Yau)

Update, 6 pm: The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office announced charges against four people arrested during the riot.

Jarred Huber is charged with arson and four charges of criminal mischief. Prosecutors say he pushed a dumpster against the Multnomah County Justice Center and set its content aflame. “Huber is also accused of spray-painting anarchist symbols on buildings and destroying multiple large windows at a coffee shop, a jewelry store, a luxury department store, and Portland City Hall,” the DA’s office added.

Jacob Meyers, Emery Hall and Elizabeth Hall are accused of shattering multiple windows.

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