PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A protest that erupted Wednesday at Portland City Hall after the City Council ratified a new police contract dispersed after about 6 hours.
A total of 10 protesters were arrested and one officer was injured, police told KOIN 6 News.
The officer was injured inside City Hall by someone in the crowd, but that officer’s injuries were described as “not serious,” PPB said. Authorities are still looking for whoever is responsible.
Protesters blocked traffic off and on again at Southwest 5th Avenue throughout the afternoon. As soon as police would leave, protesters spilled back out into the street, blocking traffic and MAX trains.
Shortly after 5 p.m., protest organizers said “we are going to disperse this protest now.”
Organizer Gregory McKelvey, though, said they were planning “something massive for Friday.”
McKelvey said the actions today were “the most anti-democratic thing we’ve seen from Portland City Hall.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted PPB during Wednesday’s protests.
While PPB said that free speech events don’t require a permit, marches or demonstrations that restrict the movement of other community members do. Police said no permits were issued for the Wednesday protest.
PPB first cleared the street around 2:15 p.m. Officers in riot gear spread out in front of City Hall and played a recorded message warning protesters to clear the sidewalk and street or they could be arrested.
Those officers cleared out around 2:50 p.m. That’s when protesters retook the street. Since then, police have returned, left and returned once more.
How it began
This all started Wednesday morning after the Portland City Council approved a controversial police contract. Demonstrators refused to leave City Hall, moving their tents into the building. Police said protesters threw bottles at officers in City Hall, and that’s when they were cleared out of the building.
Some protesters were given medical attention after being pepper sprayed. They could be seen pouring milk onto their faces for relief. At least three ambulances were brought to the scene.
After the initial clash, protesters moved into the street and blocked traffic, including MAX and TriMet buses, but police were called to clear the street.
Some protesters defied police orders and 10 were arrested after the police cleared the street. Three were booked into the Multnomah County jail while the others were cited and released Wednesday.
- Jonny Perez, 23, booked for assaulting a public safety officer, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and interfering with emergency response
- Robert Lee West, 51, booked for coercion, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct
- Sarabeth Rachel Long, 38, booked for coercion, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct
- David Kif Davis, 44, cited for disorderly conduct and interfering with a public safety officer
- Hallie Bernhof, 20, cited for disorderly conduct and criminal trespass
- Carlton Smith, 43, cited for disorderly conduct
- Henrick De-Savy, 21, cited for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and interfering with a public safety officer
- James Mattox, 27, cited for disorderly conduct and interfering with a public safety officer
- Frank Martinez Jr., 24, cited for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and interring with a public safety officer
- Benjamin Kerensa, 32, cited for theft
Former Portland mayoral candidate Jesse Sponberg told KOIN 6 News he was pepper sprayed twice. He called police “traitors to everything this city stands for.”
“I’ve lived in Portland a long time, and that’s the craziest police brutality I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Sponberg also laid some blame on Mayor-Elect Ted Wheeler for not arriving in town during the vote on the police contract.
“Everyone was there to get their testimony on the record,” the protester said. “And then the police just formed a line, and all of sudden, this happened.”
City Hall was closed on Monday afternoon around 12:30 p.m. after protesters moved their tents inside in response to the City Council approving a collective bargaining contract with the Portland Police Association.
The controversial police contract was approved as protesters gathered outside and chanted loudly.
Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish voted with Mayor Charlie Hales to approve the new collective bargaining contract for the Portland Police Bureau. Novick was the only one to vote against it.
Protesters said they weren’t happy with the vote and moved their tents inside the building.
The front doors were locked, and as of 12:36 p.m. police were still trying to move the remaining protesters outside.
The meeting was originally moved to a closed room earlier Wednesday after protesters grew rowdy. Chants could be heard from within the room where city commissioners were making statements before casting their vote.
Members of Don’t Shoot PDX camped outside City Hall Tuesday night in order to protest Wednesday’s City Hall meeting.
The group wanted to postpone the approval of the new contract, which was agreed upon in September. They wanted to wait to approve it until Hales’ replacement as mayor, Ted Wheeler, takes over in January.
The contract was first heard at City Hall on September 28, but prior to that meeting, Don’t Shoot PDX protesters marched through the city and into City Hall in an effort to speak to Charlie Hales.
The mayor’s office released a Frequently Asked Questions document about the contract to help clarify concerns people may have about it.
The contract aims to accomplish raising salaries to make PPB more competitive with other jurisdictions, eliminate a controversial “48-hour rule” for officer involved shooting investigations, eliminates grievances against the city that could impede reform efforts and commits to creating new rules about body camera use.
The mayor’s FAQ emphasizes that the body camera policy itself is not part of this contract. That policy will be dealt with separately with input from the community.