Police have declared a riot in Portland, Oregon
Police in Portland, Oregon, have declared a riot after protesters took to the streets there over the Breonna Taylor charging decision. This is not that unusual, as the city has been the focus for months of consecutive Black Lives Matter protests, and the authorities have quite frequently taken that step.
Unusually tonight, though, the Portland police have shared a video which they say is a Molotov cocktail being hurled at them during the protests. The Guardian has not been able to independently verify the footage.
Journalist Sergio Olmos, who works for Oregon Public Broadcasting, shared a photo which showed a small fire and some damage at a Portland police bureau.
The Seattle Times have been reporting on how protests unfolded in the city whose council recently voted to reduce the police department’s budget. They say:
Protesters organized two separate 7pm rallies — one that began at Westlake Park downtown and ended with a vigil for Taylor outside the U.S. Courthouse, and another at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill that led to smashed windows and several arrests. In support of Kentucky protesters, Westlake organizers read aloud six demands from Louisville’s Black Lives Matter chapter
At Cal Anderson Park, protester Trayvonna Thompson-Wiley said the grand jury’s decision offered “no justice at all.” The demonstration was a message that people across the country are in solidarity, she said. “The new generation, millennials, Gen Z are not going to give in to lip service,” she said. “They want change.”
The Seattle Times go on to report that later on:
Around 8:30pm, some people who had gathered at Cal Anderson started smashing parking meters and the windows of a Starbucks on First Hill. A second Starbucks was hit shortly after, and Seattle police issued a dispersal order just before 9pm.
By 9:15pm, police had arrested several people on First Hill. A Seattle police spokesperson said that by 9:45pm, officers had made at least six arrests — one for allegedly assaulting an officer and the rest on investigation of rendering criminal assistance and pedestrian interference. At least two more people were arrested later in the night, police tweeted.
Around 11pm, a group of officers — some on bikes — rushed into the area, pepper spraying the crowd and sending people running.
There’s also some unverified footage being widely shared around social media that appears to show a Seattle police officer on a bicycle in running over the head of an injured person who was lying at the side of the road.
Vice president Mike Pence, alongside Ivanka Trump, will no doubt be addressing the subject of the Breonna Taylor protests later today. They already had a planned campaign stop in Minneapolis where they were intending to show support for law enforcement and talk about the president’s “law and order” agenda.
In the city where the death of George Floyd sparked the widespread summer of global Black Lives Matter protests, the pair plan to host a listening session with a “Cops for Trump” group.
Earlier, Joe Biden’s pick for vice president, Kamala Harris, added her voice to those calling for protests to be non-violent.
She also called on people to never stop speaking Breonna Taylor’s name.
Key events so far…
Here’s a quick catch-up on where we are right now and what we know:
- The Jefferson county grand jury has indicted one of the officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankinson faces three felony counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. None of the other officers involved in the fatal shooting were indicted. No homicide charges were issued.
- Thousands of people joined protests in many major US city which saw protesters chanting “Say her name! Breonna Taylor” and “No justice, no peace”. Posters and shrines dedicated to Taylor were seen all around as protesters marched.
- Two police officers in Louisville were shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Louisville police have one suspect in custody, but it is unclear whether the suspect and the shooting were related to protests in the city. One officer is undergoing surgery while the second is alert and stable. The police have not released any other information.
- A car drove through protests in Denver, there were no injuries. One person was detained.
- Chemical agents were used on protesters by the authorities in Atlanta.
- President Donald Trump has tweeted that he is praying for the two police officers.
- His opponent in November’s election, Joe Biden has tweeted “Even amidst the profound grief & anger today’s decision generated, violence is never & can never be the answer” and said that he and his wife Jill would be keeping the officers shot “in our prayers”.
- Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family of Breonna Taylor, described the grand jury announcement as “outrageous and offensive.” Crump noted that none of the charges announced today appear to relate directly to the fatal shooting of Taylor. “If Brett Hankison’s behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor’s apartment too. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder,” Crump said in a tweet.
- Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, learned of the charging decision minutes before attorney general’s announcement. The family’s attorney, Sam Aguiar, told CNN: “She had to drive all the way down there to be told this, despite two advanced requests from me to not force her to drive down only to learn no indictments.”
I’m Martin Belam, taking over from Helen Sullivan, and you can get in touch with me at [email protected]
San Diego police declare unlawful assembly
The San Diego police department has ordered a group of protestors to disperse from outside the police headquarters or face arrest, in what they say is a response to “acts of violence and vandalism”:
The attorney for Taylor’s boyfriend echoing the message from civil rights attorney Ben Crump earlier today.
Crump, who is representing the Taylor’s family, told CNN the indictment is, “like killing Breonna all over again, and added that, “The DA can indict a ham sandwich if they want to … We strongly feel they did not want an indictment against these police officers.”
Steven Romines, who is representing Taylor’s boyfriend has told CNN, “A prosecutor can indict anybody he wants. And indict him for whatever he wants. They did not want to indict anybody for Breonna Taylor’s murder.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear authorizes ‘limited’ deployment of national guard
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says he has authorized a “limited” deployment of the National Guard, AP reports.
The Democratic governor said Wednesday at a news conference that the deployment is “based on very specific operations,” and is under the sole command of the National Guard.
Beshear said the National Guard would protect “critical infrastructure,” including hospitals. Meanwhile, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the indictment of one of the officers on a charge of wanton endangerment “confirmed our decision to terminate” him from the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Fischer said the case is “far from over” and the FBI is continuing its probe into the matter.
Also, LMPD is conducting a Professional Standards Unit investigation to determine if any policies and procedures were violated by officers involved in the case.
In urging calm, Fischer said: “Let’s turn to each other, not on each other.”
Police deploy chemical agents in Atlanta
More from Atlanta, via the AP:
Police say they have deployed chemical agents on Atlanta protesters. Georgia State Patrol Spokesperson Franka Young has told The Associated Press the chemical agents were fired after “some unruly protesters” attempted to climb on top of a SWAT vehicle that was stationed in the city.
“They were given orders to get off of the vehicle and when they ignored the orders, the SWAT team was forced to utilize less lethal gas to deter them,” Young said. Some protesters were also arrested after refusing orders to disperse from roads and to walk on sidewalks, Young said. It is not clear how many people were arrested. Young said many protesters had followed police orders.