BY: BILL HUTCHINSON, KAYNA WHITWORTH, ANNIE PONG, and JENNA HARRISON, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — As the governor of Oregon announced a plan to end violence in Portland following a fatal shooting during clashes between protesters on one hand and radical right activists and supporters of President Donald Trump on the other, a video emerged of a group of police in the city repeatedly punching a protester being held on the ground.
Portland police officials announced that 29 people, ranging in age from 17 to 49, were arrested during protests Sunday night and into Monday morning, saying officers came under attack from more than 150 people blocking traffic and some hurling rocks, eggs and other projectiles at them outside a government building housing the city’s public safety offices and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
After repeated warnings from police over loudspeakers for protesters to clear the area in front of the Penumbra Kelly Building, in northeast Portland, were ignored by many of the protesters, authorities declared the gathering an unlawful assembly at 10:40 p.m. Sunday. They then began arresting people on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to interfering with peace officers and resisting arrest, according to a statement from the Portland Police Bureau.
Police said two of the people arrested were in possession of loaded firearms.
“We all must come together — elected officials, community leaders, all of us — to stop the cycle of violence,” Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement.
The governor announced a multi-pronged plan to end the violence in Portland while protecting peaceful protesters’ freedom of speech. She said she’ll work with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office to make sure people arrested for violent acts remain jailed and fully prosecuted.
Brown said the plan will also boost the number of Oregon State Police in the city and deploy sheriff’s deputies and police officers from surrounding agencies “to free up the Portland Police Bureau’s investigative capabilities to arrest and charge those engaging in violent acts.” Brown, a Democrat, said the nearly 100 consecutive days of protests in the city have stretched the Portland Police Bureau’s resources thin.
“But this is only the first step. Real change will come from the hard work to achieve racial justice. And it starts with all of us listening to each other, and working together,” said Brown, adding she will also convene a community forum with Black Lives Matter protest organizers and community leaders to “discuss racial justice and police reform in the City of Portland.”
Police declared unlawful assembly
Just hours after Brown released details of her plan on Sunday, violence erupted yet again in Portland.
Laura Jedeed, a freelance journalist, told ABC News that shortly after police declared an unlawful assembly outside the Kelly Building on Sunday night, she video-recorded officers pushing and arresting protesters. In the footage shot by Jedeed, police dressed in riot gear and wielding batons are seen chasing protesters also dressed in riot gear down a street.
In one video shared with ABC News, Jedeed recorded at least four officers holding a man face-down on the pavement and one officer appeared to punch him several times. Other officers stood nearby ordering protesters to “get out of the street.”
“The police declared an unlawful assembly because the protest was blocking traffic and protesters threw some eggs onto the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office property,” Jedeed said.
She said that after orders from the police for the crowd to disperse, officers began arresting protesters.
“They kept saying things like, ‘You! Not press! You’re going to jail!’ They were basically grabbing anyone without a press pass,” Jedeed said.
Police officials said in their statement that many of the protesters were wearing “heavy protective gear, including helmets, gas masks, goggles, and external armor.” Officials said some protesters arrested were carrying shields bearing reflective squares used to deflect police flashlight beams back toward officers.
Officials released a series of images showing rocks, knives, the two guns, an expandable baton and homemade “spike strip” devices made from swimming pool foam noodles and nails they allegedly recovered from protesters.
By 1:30 a.m. on Monday, officers had dispersed protesters outside the Kelly Building.
The latest confrontations came on the 94th consecutive day of protest in Portland that erupted in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
Man shot dead during demonstration
On Saturday, a man was fatally shot in downtown Portland following fights that broke out between protesters and a group of people describing themselves as Trump supporters who descended on the city in a 600-vehicle caravan, officials said.
Police have released little information about the fatal shooting. Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell has asked citizens not to “draw conclusions about what took place” and to reach out to detectives if they have information that could help police identify and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible for the shooting.
On Monday afternoon, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office identified 39-year-old Aaron J. Danielson, of Portland, as the man who was shot.
FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting in the Portland shooting investigation and “actively offering support and resources,” according to a tweet by Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec.
Joey Gibson, a founder of Patriot Prayer, a Washington state-based right-wing group, told ABC News that Danielson was a member of his group and a friend.
During a briefing on Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany mentioned Danielson, saying, “The president believes that people of all ideologies should be able to peacefully protest and not have their lives put at risk like Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson.”
Justin Dunlap, a videographer who has been recording the protests nightly, captured video of the shooting. He told ABC News that the man who was shot had what Dunlap believes to be bear repellent.
“The guy … who had had the bear mace turned and took three or four steps and then fell. And the other two guys were backing up, like as soon as the shots were fired, they were backing up towards the intersection and they went around the corner. I don’t know what happened to them after that,” Dunlap said.
Gibson told ABC News that Danielson never sprayed the bear spray in the moments before he was killed. Instead, Gibson says a can of spray was hit by a bullet during the shooting, causing a plume of spray to be released.
Police said the shooting happened at 8:46 p.m. and that Portland police officers heard sounds of gunfire and found the victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. The man died at the scene, police said.
“The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight,” Brown said in her statement. “Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence.”
Trump, Portland Mayor trade criticisms
President Trump took to Twitter early Sunday to comment on the violence in Portland, calling Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler “incompetent” and “a fool.” While retweeting a video that showed counter-demonstrators in their cars firing paintballs and pepper spray at protesters on a Portland street, the president said that the “big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected.”
“The people of Portland won’t put up with no safety any longer,” Trump tweeted. “Bring in the National Guard!”
Wheeler, a Democrat, responded by calling on Trump to do his part to stop the violence.
“I’m going to do the work that I need to do here in my local community with my local officials to take accountability for what’s happening on our streets, and I’d appreciate that either the president support us,” Wheeler said, “or stay the hell out of the way.”
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