PORTLAND — A man was seriously injured late Sunday when protesters beat him after he crashed his pickup truck on a downtown sidewalk. The protesters had reportedly accused the man, who hasn’t been identified, of trying to hit them with his vehicle before the crash.
Portland police said they received a report at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday that a man had been injured near the intersection of Southwest Broadway and Southwest Taylor Street. The incident occurred several blocks away from a Black Lives Matter rally that took place in front of the Justice Center, which houses the city’s jail and a police precinct.
“The report said protesters were chasing the truck before it crashed, and they assaulted the driver after the crash,” Sgt. Kevin Allen told The Washington Post in a statement early Monday. “The driver was transported to the hospital by ambulance with serious injuries.”
Videos shot just after the truck crashed show a small group of people confronting the driver, pulling him away from the vehicle and slamming him to the ground. They told him to stay seated until police arrived, and the man appeared to mostly comply with that demand.
One graphic video posted on Twitter shows a man running up to the driver and kicking him in the head, apparently knocking him unconscious. Another person grabbed the assailant and pulled him away as people nearby shouted for a medic and told someone in the area to call 911.
Police arrived at the scene and encountered a “hostile crowd,” Allen said. Officers in riot gear cleared the area and secured the scene, where a white pickup truck without license plates had been left partially on the sidewalk with a smashed front bumper. The Portland Police Bureau said officers are still investigating.
Earlier in the evening, social media rumors had swirled about a person driving erratically downtown, allegedly trying to strike protesters, though no evidence to support those claims has surfaced. Tensions in Portland were already heightened this weekend after far-right extremists came to the city and allegedly fired a gun on Saturday afternoon.
A driver nearly ran into protesters in Portland on Aug. 4, accelerating a pickup toward a crowd and colliding it with a motorcycle that had been used as a barricade between demonstrators and oncoming traffic.
In recent months, protesters have been hit by vehicles in other cities across the U.S., including one Black Lives Matter protester in Seattle who died after being struck by a car that sped into a crowd gathered on the freeway. Other demonstrators have been targeted by drivers in Bloomington, Ind.; Aurora, Colo.; and Austin.