Clashes between police and civilians continue in Portland as the city enters its 5th month of anti-racism protests

Federal officers block a downtown street on September 19, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Protests against police brutality and racial injustice resumed this weekend after activists called for a pause in response to hazardous air quality from nearby wildfire smoke. Nathan Howard/Getty Images
  • Portland remains a hotbed for racial unrest in the US amid ongoing demonstrations there.
  • At least two clashes between police and civilians over the weekend made headlines.
  • On Friday, a police officer was caught on video riding his motorcycle in to a protester who blocked his path.
  • On Sunday, a man was arrested after an officer said he broke his cruiser window and sprayed him with pepper spray.
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Portland, Oregon, continues to be a hotspot for unrest and clashes between police and anti-racism protesters.

On Friday evening, a police officer drove a motorcycle into a protester who was blocking his path outside an East Portland law enforcement building, The Oregonian reported.

Two days later, in South Portland, a man was arrested after he broke the window of a police cruiser and sprayed the officer inside with pepper spray, according to KATU.

The first incident was captured in a widely circulated video, which was shared by The Oregonian.

It shows the officer’s motorcycle driving at the protester as she stood in front of him.

Police issued a statement to the paper saying the woman jumped onto the motorcycle after the officer had pulled over two other vehicles.

Police said objects were being thrown at the officer, The Oregonian reported. A witness at the scene, though, told the paper he disagreed with the police narrative.

“No one ‘jumped on the motorcycle,'” Sean Bascom, an independent journalist, told The Oregonian Saturday. “The protesters planted their feet in front of it and were driven into.”

The woman was pushed several feet by the bike before falling over, the paper wrote.

Two days later, an officer was sitting in his police SUV doing paperwork when a man ran up to the window and smashed it, police told KATU.

The man, later identified as John Russell, then deployed pepper spray inside the cruiser before running to a nearby car and fleeing, according to police.

The officer described Russell and the car to other officers over the radio and he was arrested six blocks away, KATU reported.

Police say they found a window punch tool, a laser pointer, a slingshot and rocks inside Russell’s car, according to the station.

“As police officers, we know that the vast majority of community members who approach and contact us do so with no intention to do us harm,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell told KATU. “However, attacks like this one remind us all that there is the potential for people to try to take direct violent action against police officers.”

There have been anti-police protests and unrest daily since the killing of George Floyd in May. Some demonstrations have turned violent and resulted in clashes with counterprotesters or police.