Dozens of right-wing Proud Boys and leftist Antifa members have clashed in a chaotic street showdown in Portland, armed with a variety of improvised weapons ranging from bats and shields to paintball guns, mace and fireworks.
A brief gun battle also erupted in downtown Portland on Sunday, according to multiple videos shared by witnesses. Some of them showed a middle-aged man in a fedora hat hiding behind trash bins and firing several shots across the street.
From another angle, it appears that shots were fired towards the shooter as well, though it remains unclear who opened fire first. Some reports suggested the man was a Proud Boys supporter who was being chased away by Antifa members, before opening fire.
No injuries were reported, but several buildings and cars were damaged by gunfire.
I was stuck in a cubby of a doorway of sorts during the shooting and managed to slip my phone out and film a little bit. Nobody has been hit. A car took a little bit of damage though. Video ID: Several journalists and passersby hide behind in between cars with gunshots pic.twitter.com/tRNv0iSJ6v
— Alix Powell (@thatpowellgirl) August 23, 2021
Police swiftly detained the shooter seen in the videos, who apparently did not resist arrest, but it was unclear whether they were looking for any other suspects.
The shooting took place amid an already chaotic day in Portland, which has seen dozens of people from opposite camps clashing with each other, using all kinds of improvised weapons.
According to the Oregonian, the day began with a group of some 300 left-wing protesters swarming the area of central Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and forcing a rival camp of around 100 right-wing activists to relocate their event to an abandoned Kmart parking lot in the northeast of the city
Smoke devices and fireworks launched as a group of about 50 in black bloc arrived at the Proud Boys/right-wing protest at the abandoned Kmart in Portland pic.twitter.com/XzDscJpTeo
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) August 22, 2021
However, smaller Antifa groups soon followed the Proud Boys to the new site, apparently engaging in verbal exchanges and skirmishes.
Major clash between Proud Boys and Antifa happening now on 122nd in Portland Pepper spray and airsoft deployed, fighting ongoing in the streets pic.twitter.com/z7V584qMuQ
— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) August 22, 2021
At one point, a van crashed into the parking lot. The alleged ‘left-wing agitator’ behind the wheel was maced and chased away, and his vehicle was overturned by right-wing protesters.
Proud Boys hold rally in northeast Portland and according to witnesses on the scene a ‘left-wing agitator’ drove a white van into the rally and crashed. The individual was then bear maced and chased out of the parking lot, according to witnesses pic.twitter.com/lVX77qfbsB
— Jorge Ventura Media (@VenturaReport) August 22, 2021
There was no visible police presence throughout the day, besides the officers who arrested the gunman and swept the scene. In the run-up to the showdown, Portland police warned that they won’t intervene in clashes and instead “will be sharing public safety information with the public via Twitter.”
Portland is a lawless wasteland. Antifa took bullet casings from a crime scene and police have been so spit on and disempowered by the city that they won’t do more than this because they know Portland’s elected Democrats support criminals, not law & order.pic.twitter.com/uS3TisdktO
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) August 23, 2021
“You should not expect to see police officers standing in the middle of the crowd trying to keep people apart. People should keep themselves apart and avoid physical confrontation,” Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell said on Friday.
Some individuals are clashing in the area of NE 122nd south of Sandy Blvd. People are lighting fireworks and dispersing chemical spray. Those crossing line into criminal activity are subject to arrest. Some traffic lanes are being periodically affected. pic.twitter.com/UOaCJQVZRM
— PPB Event Messages (@PPBAlerts) August 22, 2021
Police defended their tactics in another press release on Sunday afternoon, acknowledging they were aware of some “violence” and “property destruction,” requesting public help in identifying the victims and perpetrators.
“Detectives are reviewing evidence to determine whether charges can be brought for any criminal activity,” PPB said. “Just because arrests are not made at the scene, when tensions are high, does not mean that people are not being charged with crimes later.”
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