Tag: riots

Portland Riots July 24 Update

The situation in Portland for the past 55 straight days continues with violent anarchists rioting on the streets of Portland as federal law enforcement officers work diligently and honorably to enforce federal law; they do so by defending federal property and the lives of their fellow officers.

In response to nightly attempts to raze and damage the Hatfield Federal Courthouse, DHS made the decision earlier this week to put up a stronger fence around the building’s perimeter.

While more secure fencing has kept much of the criminal violence away from the courthouse building, it has now become a consistent target of the rioters, who try to tear it down and breach it using ropes and various tools.

As federal officers left the building to address attacks on the fence, night after night they have been met by rioters with hard projectiles, mortar style fireworks and lasers that can cause permanent blindness. Reports on the ground also indicate that rioters’ laser attacks have increased in intensity.

The Past 24 Hours:

By 9:15 p.m. local time over 1500 protestors had peacefully assembled near the Hatfield Federal Courthouse.

Around 10:49 p.m. local time the attack on federal property and officers began when the rioters began to use lasers that can cause permanent blindness against federal officers in the courthouse.

At 11:33 p.m. local time the crowd began to throw trash over the fence protecting the courthouse. At 11:38 p.m. local time federal officers arrived at the scene and immediately came under heavy laser attack.

At 11:45 p.m. local time it was reported that the first fireworks were launched at the courthouse.

At 11:49 p.m. rioters attempted to climb the fence, despite repeated warnings not to do so. Laser attacks continued against the courthouse and officers.

Shortly after midnight local time rioters set fire to trash that had been thrown over the fence earlier in the evening. Some rioters then threw objects over the fence and used leaf blowers to increase the spread of the flames. The rioters persisted with their mortar-style firework attacks.

Around 12:30 a.m. local time law enforcement officers were forced to use pepper balls as rioters began to rock the fence aggressively despite the officers’ repeated warnings to cease. Minutes later at 12:39 a.m., rioters started tying rope to the fence in an effort to tear it down. The rioters then began using tools such as hacksaws and bolt cutters in an effort to tear down the fence. When federal officers exited the courthouse building in response to the attempted destruction of the fence, they were immediately assailed with hard projectiles, mortar-style fireworks and lasers.

After officers had reentered the courthouse building, violent anarchists began attaching multiple ropes to the fence in an effort to pull it down while others continued to try to raze the fence with tools.

Around 1:10 a.m. local time rioters breached a door of the fence. When federal officers responded to the breach, they were once again attacked with mortar-style fireworks. Other rioters continued their attempts to push over the fence and lift the jersey barrier.

At 1:24 a.m. local time the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) tweeted that there was “violent and unlawful behavior occurring outside the Federal Courthouse” and warned people to “Stay out of the area.”

At 1:26 a.m. local time federal officers had to go outside of the fence in order to repel the rioters and thereby protect the courthouse and personnel inside. As they entered the street they were immediately assailed with mortar-style fireworks and hard projectiles. Around this time, knives that were previously thrown over the fence at federal officers were recovered.

At 2 a.m. local time PPB finally declared a riot and urged people to leave the area. A total of three fence panels had been torn down by rioters.

At 5:20 a.m. local time there were still fires in the vicinity of the courthouse.

At 5:30 a.m. local time violent opportunists were observed attempting to take down additional fence panels. Pepper balls were deployed but protesters successfully breached the fence.

At 5:50 a.m. local time, officers deployed to extinguish a fire that had been started by the crowd and were assaulted yet again with fireworks and projectiles. The officers moved back inside the building.

DHS officers conducted 7 total arrests resulting from the night’s violence.

One injury to a DHS officer has been reported and no injuries to protestors or rioters have been reported.

Blogs to Follow:

DHS.gov (July 2020) Portland Riots Read-out: July 24

Tennessee Citizen Faces Federal Charges in Connection to Metro Courthouse Fire During Protest

A criminal complaint issued today charged Wesley Somers, 25, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, with arson and with malicious destruction of property using fire or explosives.

“The Department of Justice will vindicate the First Amendment rights of all Americans to speak, assemble and seek a redress of grievances from their government,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.  “We cannot tolerate, however, those who would take advantage of moments of real anguish to endanger the innocent and destroy their property.”

“We will always vigorously defend the right of every individual to assemble and protest,” said U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.  “This is one of our most sacred liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution.  We will also vigorously pursue those who choose to exploit such assemblies and use violence and intimidation in order to change the dynamics of an otherwise peaceful protest.”

The criminal complaint alleges that on the afternoon of May 30, 2020, protesters gathered in downtown Nashville following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Later in the evening, a number of persons gathered in front of Nashville City Hall, also known as the Metro Courthouse, and using various tools, including crowbars and other objects, began smashing the windows of the premises and spraying graffiti on the Courthouse facade.  

One or more fires were also set inside of the Courthouse at this time.

Numerous video clips and photographs of the destruction at the Courthouse were posted on social media websites, on the websites for news outlets, and on other Internet sites.  

Somers is depicted in video clips and photographs from that evening, shirtless and wearing beige cargo shorts.  In those clips and photographs, Somers—whose distinctive chest tattoos portraying the words “WILD CHILD” and “HARD 2 Love,” among others, are occasionally visible — is depicted attempting to smash windows of the Courthouse with a long object. 

One photograph in particular, depicted Somers holding an unknown accelerant, which had been set on fire, and placing the accelerant through the window of the Courthouse.  

Somers is also depicted in a video clip setting fire to an accelerant and placing it inside a window located on the exterior of the Courthouse. 

Somers was identified by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department – Specialized Investigation Division, after receiving numerous tips from citizens, and was arrested on state arson charges on May 31. 

If convicted, Somers faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison.

Assistant Attorney General Demers and U.S. Attorney Cochran commended the actions of concerned citizens and the efforts of the law enforcement agencies and prosecutors who worked to quickly identify and bring these charges, including the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Schrader; and Trial Attorney Justin Sher of the Department’s Counterterrorism Section.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.     

Justice.gov (June 2020) Tennessee Man Faces Federal Arson Charges in Connection to Metro Courthouse Fire During Protest