What started as protests for Geroge Floyd has turned into months of Portland riots with millions of dollars and damaged and numerous police and rioters injured.
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Starting on May 28th, 2020, protests in Portland began over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The protests during the day remained mostly peaceful but at night the protests became increasingly violent. The protest and demonstrations have been aided by the ease at which they can be coordinated on social media like Twitter and Facebook. The Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, an established group with numerous members, was the main organizer of the protesting using their social media accounts. In July they had well over 25K members.
The protests in May and June were attended by thousands of people from organizations like the ACLU, Black Panthers, Portland politicians and were heavenly concentrated on police reform and justice. During one of the protests on May 29th looting and destruction started and the protest was declared a riot. By the time the rioting and looting had ended 13 people had been arrested and two police officers injured. It is important to understand that that the vast majority of the protests in Portland have been peaceful but daily have deteriorated when the sun goes down into mayhem and rioting.
The nightly riots intensified on July 2nd when multiple federal law enforcement agents, including the US Marshals, the Federal Protective Service, Customs and Border Protection, and Homeland Security, were brought in to protect the federal buildings that were being besieged by rioters nightly. These officer’s presence became a rallying cry for the rioters, mostly from Antifa who saw them as an intrusion on Portland. The nightly rioters resorted to using lasers, fireworks, bottles of flaming liquid, bricks, etc to attack the officers provoking a response that was then often shown on social media.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Vice President Mike Pence came to an agreement that the extra federal officers would depart Portland and the State Police would increase their presence to ensure the safety of the federal property in Portland.
The rioters at one time organized the “Wall of Moms” who attempted to prevent the federal officers from doing their duties. These moms were then replaced by the “Wall of Veterans”. Both groups were short-lived but fueled the rioter’s spirits. The nightly riots continued until September 16th went the rioters called them off due to the air quality from nearby fires.
Aaron Danielson is Killed in Portland Riots
August 29, brought an escalation to the Portland riots when a fight broke out between supporters of President Trump and supporters of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other protest groups. The Trump supporters were taking part in the “Trump 2020 Cruise Rally,” a group of more than 100 vehicles covered in flags and posters supporting MAGA and Trump. Videos on social media did show a few Trump supporters shot paintball guns and used pepper spray on the protesters similar to what the rioters were doing at night.
Patriot Prayer was one of the groups participating in the pro-Trump rally, among them was Aaron Danielson. With the video evidence posted on social media, the Portland Police were quickly able to identify Antifa member Michael Reinoehl as the suspect, who was previously arrested in the Portland riots for fighting, in the killing of Mr. Danielson. The police acting quickly went to arrest Michael Reinoehl. He was killed by police while resisting arrest.
In the end, the question remains. Were there any real changes from the Portland riots or did they just server to farther the divided and already divided country?