By SARA CLINE Associated Press/Report for America
A man appeared to have been punched and kicked unconscious by demonstrators just as unrest continued in Oregon’s biggest city, which has seen violent protests nearly every night since George Floyd was killed.
Portland police said their response to the assault Sunday night was “complicated by a hostile group”. The response required additional officers in order to safely investigate the crime.
During Sunday’s protests there were no arrests and no tear gas was deployed, police said.
Around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, Portland Police received reports of protesters chasing a truck a few blocks from the federal courthouse. Authorities said the driver crashed and was then assaulted.
Multiple videos posted online apparently showed the man sitting in the street next to a truck that he had been driving, which had crashed and come to a stop on a sidewalk Sunday night, news outlets reported. People crowded around him and he appeared to have been punched at least once and later kicked in the head — knocking him flat.
The man was later loaded into an ambulance and taken to a hospital with serious injuries, Portland police Sgt. Kevin Allen told The Oregonian/Oregon Live. The truck was towed. It was unclear what exactly led to the crash and the confrontation.
Prior to the assault, police described the demonstrations in Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square parks as peaceful.
A crowd had gathered, around 7 p.m., to listen to speeches and marched towards the Portland Police Bureau’s Central Precinct.
Police said that items were thrown at the building, but other than making the “area safe for employees getting in and out of the building” officers did not interact with the crowd.
In another area, Letha Winston, whose son Patrick Kimmons, 27, was fatally shot by Portland police in 2018 led a group that marched through downtown. The group ended up outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse where people left flowers and candles beside a photo of Kimmons.
Demonstrations, often violent, have happened nightly in Portland for more than two months following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Participants have repeatedly broken into the offices of the Portland Police Association, vandalized them and set fires.
Overnight Saturday a riot was declared and police used crowd control munitions, including smoke, to disperse a gathering outside a law enforcement building.
Authorities said people had thrown “softball size” rocks, glass bottles and other objects at officers. Two police officers were treated at the hospital after being hit by rocks. Eleven people were arrested.
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.
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