A riot was declared Friday night in downtown Portland, Oregon, when an Antifa group began to breach the gate into the Multnomah County Detention Center, following the not guilty verdict in the high-profile Kyle Rittenhouse case.
18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges Friday, found by the jury having acted in self-defense when he shot three Black Lives Matter rioters, killing two and injuring the third, during the August 2020 riots that erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the police shooting and wounding of Jacob Blake.
Portland law enforcement declared a riot Friday night after BLM-Antifa activists took the streets across majority US cities in solidarity with Kenosha. Antifa rioted and damaged property in downtown Portland as vengeance for the jury's verdict.
An estimated 200 "hostile" individuals rioted at the downtown Multnomah County Justice Center around 8:45 pm PST, hurling "urine, alcoholic beverages, water bottles, and batteries" at deputies blocking the ramp entrance into the government complex, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. Several members of the crowd were heard saying "burn it down," referring to the Justice Center, which houses inmates, the central police station, and the sheriff's office.
"Because a large group of people were engaging in tumultuous and violent conduct, and further entry into the building would have posed significant implications and grave risk of causing public alarm, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office declared a riot," the office said in a statement Saturday.
FOX 12 Oregon reported the rioters smashed windows and broke doors.
A crowd gathered near SW 2nd Avenue and SW Madison Street and participants began breaking windows and damaging doors of city facilities in the area as rioters launched objects at police officers in the area, Portland Police tweeted.
The rioters shattered the rear hatch window of a patrol sergeant's cruiser, windows from the city print shop, and tagged the justice center building, police reported. "All cops are Kyles" was spray painted on the front of the PPB's central precinct.
Antifa rioters shut down the road outside the Justice Center and chanted, "Kyle is a terrorist!" Attempting to incite violence, the anti-Rittenhouse mob yelled, "Every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground!"
Due to the "violent, destructive behavior" by a significant part of the crowd, the gathering in downtown Portland was declared a riot, PPB announced.
A dispersal order was issued via social media and loud speaker, instructing rioters to travel west and warning that failure to adhere may result in citations, arrests, and use-of-force, including pepper spray and impact weapons.
PPB clarified that the MCSO declared the riot when the gate to the detention center was being damaged. Portland Police's sound truck was used to broadcast the information on behalf of law enforcment partners. MCSO directed the PPB incident command to communicate the riot declaration and use-of-force warnings to the demonstrators using the mobile sound truck, MCSO added.
Portland Police appeared to retreat as violent Antifa rioters in black bloc advanced, shouting threats: "F*ck you! Move back, motherf*ckers! You f*cking cowards!"
Significant resources were diverted to address Friday's riot, affecting response times. "While we have officers assigned to address emergencies citywide, lower priority calls will have to wait for a while," Portland Police tweeted.
The severe staffing shortages within the Portland Police are due to police defunding and the demoralizing work environment. The few remaining officers were deployed to prevent Antifa rioters from storming the Justice Center.
One arrest was made for a warrant and another person was criminally cited. Five citations and 17 warnings were issued, PPB reported in a press release Saturday.
Antifa rioters also attacked a KATU camera crew and attempted to keep the press team from recording the events unfolding downtown Friday night.
After the mob demanded the crew stop documenting the chaotic scene, Antifa rioters then attacked the KATU camera operator when the crew asserted its right to record in a public space. A confrontation occurred between the violent radicals and the local ABC-affiliated television station's security guards. The news crew was uninjured but the camera was damaged, KATU reported.
"Because of sustained threats & assaults like this, most news crews don't send reporters to cover the antifa events, leaving few who do at more risk," tweeted The Post Millennial editor-at-large Andy Ngo, who has been assaulted by Antifa.
Ngo noted that the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, Society of Professional Journalists's Greater Oregon chapter, and Committee to Protect Journalists have been "largely silent" over the crisis of violence against press by far-left extremists.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty released a statement, saying in part:
"People have a right to be upset, and the right to protest. Just as protestors have a right to film the police or anything occurring in public, the press has the right to film what's occurring in public. I'm still learning the full details of what occurred last night but want to make it clear that attacking or intimidating the press is never acceptable, such as what happened to a KATU crew last night."
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler thanked authorities for policing the riot and condemned the property damage as well as the violence carried out:
"Thank you @PortlandPolice for your service last night. While I support peaceful protests, I strongly condemn any acts of criminal destruction and violence. This is not advocacy to advance reforms. These actions do not reflect our values as a city."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration has been in communication with law enforcement channels to ensure that whatever BLM protests occur following the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict remain "peaceful."
Ahead of the anticipated verdict, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced last Friday that he has authorized around 500 Wisconsin Army National Guard troops to support law enforcement authorities policing expected protests in Kenosha.
President Joe Biden issued a statement Friday, calling for calm but also expressing that he's "feeling angry and concerned" over the Rittenhouse acquittal.
"While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken," Biden stated in the White House press release. "I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us."
"I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy," he added.
After jurors found Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts, Biden told reporters that he stands with the jury system. "Well look, I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works, and we have to abide by it," Biden said to the media.