PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Workers have installed plywood over windows and washed off graffiti near the entrance to the downtown Portland police headquarters after police say windows were smashed and plywood was removed from doors.
The vandalism happened after the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office removed the last of the fencing that circled the Justice Center, the Police Bureau’s Central Precinct, police administrative offices, the county jail and courtrooms, to try to tamp down tension between protesters and police, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said Tuesday the fence had become much of the focus.
The fence was put up after May 29, when people smashed windows and set a fire inside a sheriff’s records office of the Justice Center. The barrier had become a flashpoint that draws demonstrators each night until early hours in a movement that coalesced in outrage at the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Police have fired tear gas, tossed stun grenades, launched foam-tipped projectiles and pushed crowds out of the way with batons after declaring unlawful assemblies as some in the crowd have thrown bottles or fireworks at them.
People began the tagging about 1 a.m. and some used pieces of 2-by-4 lumber and a hammer to break windows, according to police and videos shared on social media. Some people tried to enter the precinct through the broken windows, police said.
Police responded and cleared people from the area. Independent writer Donovan Farley tweeted about 2:30 a.m. that police charged toward people, and he was “hit in the back several times trying to help someone who (Portland police) pushed into a car head first.”
Police confiscated some objects. Davis said an investigation is underway and police expect to make arrests. One 19-year-old was arrested, accused of setting a fire on the Justice Center steps.
Davis suggested that Multnomah County prosecutors and judges should “make the people who did this clean it all up and use restorative justice” to send a message that the community won’t tolerate the vandalism.