Watch: Car drives through crowd of anti-police protesters blocking road, demanding to ‘abolish the police’

PORTLAND, OR – According to reports, several people at an anti-police protest who were blocking a street in Portland were injured after a vehicle drove right through the crowd of protesters.

Maranie R. Staab, who recorded the incident and posted the 10-second video clip online, wrote via Twitter:

“A car just drove thru a crowd of protesters, dragging one on his hood, during a peaceful demonstration in SE Portland.”

Staab, who identifies herself as an independent journalist, said the crowd was gathered to protest police violence. The crowd was specifically calling for the “abolition of police.”

In a second tweet, Staab said:

“The group of approx. 25 temporarily occupied an intersection in an act of civil disobedience in a demand for the abolition of police.”

Unsurprisingly, the video quickly went viral, garnering more than 1.2 million views. Some reportedly voicing their own opinions about what they saw in the video.

In a series of subsequent tweets, Staab said:

“There seems to be some confusion about the circumstances here. Nobody attacked this car. The majority of the vehicles (several hundred within about 30 minutes) chose to drive around the block instead of facing the protesters.”

It is unclear if the driver initiated the incident, but there seems to be at least three different people who reached through the driver’s rolled down window to strike him.

Staab tweeted:

“Only this vehicle and several others instead turned and drove into the group. The man who ended up on the hood of the car was standing there when the car drove into him. To anyone hung up on the term ‘peaceful,’ I maintain that this was a nonviolent demonstration.”

After several people who responded defended the driver’s actions, Staab claimed yet again that the crowd was peaceful.

She tweeted:

“For those who know their history, this type of civil disobedience is not uncommon. By definition, this type of protest is the nonviolent refusal to obey a law; in this case the group temporarily blocked traffic. Unlawful or not, nothing justifies driving into a group of humans.”

She added:

“The amount of vitriol and hate expressed in these comments is distressing and speak to so much more than this relatively small incident. Ask yourself: why are you so enraged by this?”

Staab concluded by tweeting:

“I didn’t expect this 10 second clip to garner so much attention. I turned off my notifications last night and woke up to over 30 private messages and several death threats. Do better, folks.”

According to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), there have been at least 23 fatal traffic crashes in 2021 in the city if Portland alone. On Saturday, May 1st, PPB arrested five during a May Day riot in downtown Portland.

Portland Police declared a riot in downtown Portland after members from a group of at least 100 people damaged buildings and smashed windows during a May Day “autonomous demonstration.”

Just after 11 p.m., at least 50 people were reportedly gathered outside the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building. For several months, the ICE building has been a frequent target in Portland for protesters. 

During these various protests, some people vandalize buildings and set fires near Portland Police precincts and other businesses across the city. Members of these groups often advocate for abolishing police, prisons, and ICE.

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Report: Federal prosecutors quietly dismiss nearly one-third of violent protests cases from summer 2020

March 4th, 2021

PORTLAND, OR- According to federal court documents that were reviewed by KGW8 News, federal prosecutors have dismissed more than one-third of cases stemming from the violent protests that occurred on a nightly basis in downtown Portland over summer 2020. 

In their review, the news outlet found that 31 of the 90 protest cases have been dismissed by the U.S. Department of Justice, including a mix of misdemeanor and felony charges. Some of the most serious charges dropped include four defendants charged with assaulting a federal officer, which is a felony.

Reportedly, more than half of the dropped charges were “dismissed with prejudice,” which means that the case cannot be brought back to court. Several former federal prosecutors described this as extremely rare. 

These dismissals of protest cases run counter to the tough talk that came from the U.S. Department of Justice over summer 2020.

Billy Williams, then-U.S. Attorney for Oregon, vowed that there would be consequences for the nightly graffiti, fires, and vandalism outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse. In a September 25, 2020 press release, Williams said:

“Make no mistake: those who commit violence in the name of protest will be investigated, arrested, prosecuted, and face prison time.”

In a more recent interview with KGW, Williams explained that the cases were dismissed in instances where prosecutors did not believe they could prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. He said:

“Each case was analyzed for the evidence that we had at the time. Careful decisions were made on whether or not someone should be charged based on the evidence.”

Williams, who stepped down on February 28th as U.S. attorneys are traditionally asked to resign at the start of a new administration, added:

“Everything is case-specific when you go about these cases being processed through the system.”

Federal prosecutors rarely handle protests cases, but when Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt passed on most protest cases saying he was reserving resources for the most serious crimes, the federal government stepped in.

Then-Attorney General William Barr reportedly instructed federal prosecutors to aggressively pursue protesters deemed violent or destructive. Williams said:

“I’ve never made a decision in my career based upon political pressure or institutional pressure.”

Most of the defendants whose protests cases are still pending have seen their trials delayed, mostly because of the continued pandemic. Those defendants face a mix of felony and misdemeanor charges.

Reportedly, three defendants cut plea deals resulting in probation and home detention. Two of the plea agreements required a relatively short prison sentence of 3o days and several people closely involved with the protest cases said that they expect many more federal charges to be dismissed soon.

At least 11 of the dismissed federal protest cases were dropped on or after the inauguration of President Joe Biden. With a new president and a new U.S. Attorney in Oregon, it is unclear how the rest of these cases will be handled moving forward.

Laura Appleman, a law professor at Willamette University who is not directly involved in these cases, believes that federal prosecutors are not making their decisions based on politics. Rather, she think they are considering resources on an already busy caseload. She said:

“The U.S. Attorney’s office has to go through and very carefully ask, ‘Is it worth using our limited time and energy to prosecute each and every of these federal misdemeanors?’”

Not messing around: Federal law enforcement responds to huge anti-ICE protest in Portland

January 24th, 2021

PORTLAND, OR – The evening of January 23rd in Portland, Oregon saw yet another demonstration aimed at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility located within the city.

This protest that was eventually declared as an unlawful assembly, was said to have prompted the response from Federal Protective Service officers.

In Portland, the ICE facility situated within the city has been the target of protesters for some time within the past year, with optics that transpired on the evening of January 23rd that hosted similar chants and antics akin to what the facility has been subjected to previously.

Video captured from the demonstration showed protesters shouting the likes of, “No borders! No nations! Abolish deportations!”

At approximately 10:00 p.m. in Portland that evening, law enforcement officers from the Federal Protective Service – which the FPS is an entity that falls under the Department of Homeland security – had declared the protest to be an unlawful assembly.

Demonstrators and protesters at the time were advised over loudspeaker that any instances of trespassing on federal property while hosting a weapon would result in suspects being arrested.

Later on in the evening, federal agents could be seen responding to the riotous crowd by using various crowd control methods such as teargas.

It’s unclear, as of this time, how many arrests were enacted during the unlawful assembly on the evening of January 23rd. At least one video has surfaced showing one suspect being detained by law enforcement that evening. 

As mentioned earlier, anti-ICE protests had been transpiring for some time within Portland, with anti-ICE sentiments being expressed on protests and unlawful assemblies that occurred as recently as Inauguration Day of 2021. 


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Author: Jenna Curren

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