A witness described the scene where a shooting happened earlier during ongoing protests in Portland Oregon. Protests, in places violent, roiled U.S. cities overnight, as demonstrations reignited at the presence of federal troops. Riots were declared in Portland, the center of a new wave of protest, and in Seattle amid teargas, fires, hurled stones and bottles. In Austin, Texas, a man was shot to death when he approached a vehicle and a person inside opened fire, the police reported.
“Some kids, they’ve been trying to start fights all day long, instigating,” says Ronald Edwards, 26, an independent journalist. “They’ve had machetes, they’ve had bats, they’ve had skateboards, they’ve had knives.”
Amid complaints from Democratic mayors, Chad Wolf, the acting Secretary of Homeland Security, said on Fox News that the Portland experience of what he called baseball-bat-wielding protesters is “very different” to places like Chicago, Albuquerque or Kansas City, where it’s “normal criminal activity” like drug dealing.
Thousands of demonstrators marched in groups around Portland, Oregon, some yelling “Feds go home!” in response to the Trump administration’s decision to send federal agents there in late June. The police said protesters used power tools to try to cut through the fence of the federal courthouse and pulled a section down. At one point, protesters lobbed fireworks and other projectiles toward federal agents there, who fired back with tear gas. A riot was declared, and the police reported an unspecified number of arrests.
“What we see in Portland is a city, at least in certain hours at night, completely out of control,” said Wolf of DHS.
In Seattle, a riot was declared after thousands of protesters battled with police: throwing rocks, bottles, fireworks and other explosives. Police used pepper spray and flash bangs to disperse the crowds. Officers retreated to a precinct amid large demonstrations in the Capitol Hill area, which earlier protests had declared a police-free autonomous zone. Police Chief Carmen Best told reporters she hadn’t seen any federal agents on the streets. The Seattle police said they had made “dozens” of arrests and that 21 officers had been injured.
Other protests flared in New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Omaha, Nebraska, among other cities. Police in Aurora, Colorado, said on Twitter that a vehicle drove through a crowd of protesters, one of whom fired a gun and hit another protester.
Democratic mayors are pushing back. Chicago will not allow federal troops in the city or tolerate unidentified agents detaining protesters on the street, said Mayor Lori Lightfoot on CNN. “If they cross that line, we will not hesitate to use every tool at our disposal to stop troops and unwanted agents in our city,” she added.
The FBI, DEA and other agencies have worked with Chicago’s local law enforcement to help support various efforts, including violence, under the management of the local U.S. Attorney, Lightfoot said, in explanation of the nature of the federal help in the city.
Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said on Fox News that he faces a “significant” law-enforcement challenge but not one stoked by the Black Lives Matter movement or new anti-police sentiment.
“We have an increase in homicides, more activity relating to illegal gun trafficking in our communities, and enhanced and increased gang activities,” Lucas said. “We want to find a multifaceted approach to how to address it, but we recognize just more patrols isn’t necessarily the way.”
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