More than 60 Portland 911 calls were left unanswered overnight as officers responded to a ‘violent’ riot where protesters threw ‘softball-sized’ rocks and glass bottles at officers outside of a local police building.
Police said protesters engaged in “violent, tumultuous conduct” after peaceful protests escalated with participants chanting “take it to the streets!? and “kill a cop, save a life,” according to authorities.
The dozens of unanswered calls for help included some for “theft, vandalism, suspicious activity, hazards, hit and run, burglary, violation of restraining order, alarms, stolen cars, harassment and many others,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement Sunday.
Instead of helping the innocent victims of crime, officers had to deal with hundreds of violent militants who trespassed the Penumbra Kelly Building, which houses the Portland Police Bureau and other government agencies. The violent rioters launched mortars at the police and cars late Saturday and officers had “rocks, frozen eggs, glass bottles, and frozen water bottles” thrown at them until the mob finally broke up around 2:30 a.m. after 11 arrests, according to the Police Bureau.
Two officers were injured in the riot by rocks thrown from the crowd. Both were hospitalized for further treatment. Police shared photos of the rocks thrown at officers, including one that weighed 9.5 pounds and was thrown by a person wearing a ‘press’ badge.
“Portland rioters have targeted local government buildings since anti-police protests began in late May. Throughout June and July, rioters repeatedly attacked the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse with fireworks and other explosives—at one point, rioters barricaded a group of federal officers inside the courthouse and launched fireworks toward the building. Earlier this month, rioters set fire to the Portland police union headquarters,” The Washington Free Beacon reported.
In June, the Portland City Council passed a budget to slash at least $15 million from the police bureau, cut 84 positions and divert $4.8 million in funding to the Portland Street Response, a program proposed as an alternative to policing that sends unarmed responders to some emergency calls.
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said the council intends to create a safety plan where Portlanders “don’t have to worry about who shows up when you call 911.”
Saturday night marked the 80th consecutive night of protests in Portland, which began in late May following the death of George Floyd. Last week newly elected Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt decided not to prosecute people arrested for non-violent misdemeanors. Since the protests began, over 500 people have been arrested. So far, fewer than 50 are being prosecuted, according to The Associated Press.