Portland protesters assault driver of crashed truck downtown
Protesters punched and kicked a man to the ground in Portland, Oregon, after he crashed his truck onto the sidewalk on Sunday night near otherwise peaceful demonstrations.
Portland police said they received a report around 10:30 p.m. of protesters chasing a truck a few blocks from the downtown federal courthouse. The driver crashed and was then assaulted, authorities said.
Video posted online of the incident showed the man sitting in the street next to the truck. A crowd gathered around him and repeatedly punched and kicked him in the head until he was bloody. It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the crash or the confrontation.
Witnesses told police the man had been helping a transgender female who had an item of hers stolen, and he was dragged out of the car and beat by nine or 10 people. When police arrived the man was unconscious.
Portland police said their response to the assault was “complicated by a hostile group.” Authorities made no arrests and are investigating the incident.
The man was later loaded into an ambulance and taken to a hospital with serious injuries and is recovering, police said. The truck was towed.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell, described the assault as “alarming.”
The incident remains under investigation.
“I condemn this violence,” said Mike Schmidt, the Multnomah County District Attorney. “Assaults on community members and police officers undermine everything our community is doing to bring meaningful and lasting change to the criminal justice system and beyond.”
Prior to the assault, police described the demonstrations in Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square parks as peaceful.
Earlier in the evening, a crowd had gathered to listen to speeches and marched towards the police precinct.
Police reported that items were thrown at the building, but officers did not interact with the crowd other than making the “area safe for employees getting in and out of the building.”
In another area, Letha Winston, whose son Patrick Kimmons, 27, was fatally shot by Portland police in 2018 led a group of marchers downtown. The demonstrators ended outside the federal courthouse where people left flowers and candles beside a photo of Kimmons.
Demonstrations, that often turn violent, have gripped Oregon’s biggest city for more than two months following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Participants have repeatedly broken into the offices of a police union headquarters building miles from the federal courthouse.
Cline is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.