Police declared a riot in Oregon’s largest city on Tuesday night as a demonstration to commemorate the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s death spiraled into chaos.
A year after George Floyd was killed, ABC News dives into the cataclysmic, generation-defining moment that led to change around
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown Portland on Tuesday evening.
Some individuals were wearing helmets and carrying gas masks, umbrellas and backpacks. As the crowd chanted “burn the building down,” some people lit a dumpster on fire and pushed it up against the justice center while others vandalized the building with graffiti, according to the Portland Police Bureau.
MORE: Events mark anniversary of George Floyd’s death
Police officers warned the crowd that the gathering was now considered an unlawful assembly and that those who continued engaging in criminal activity would be subject to arrest and use of force. Some individuals in the crowd threw frozen water bottles, glass bottles, eggs, metal spikes and mortar-style fireworks at the officers, police said.
The crowd then marched to the nearby Portland City Hall, where some individuals smashed windows. Police declared the unlawful assembly a riot at around 10 p.m. local time and ordered the crowd to disperse. But the crowd continued wandering through the downtown area, blocking traffic in the streets, breaking windows of various businesses and damaging other property, according to police.
PHOTO: Protesters smashed windows at a Starbucks and other businesses in downtown Portland, on May 25, 2023.
Protesters smashed windows at a Starbucks and other businesses in downtown Portland, on May 25, 2023.
“Slowly, as the number of people in the crowd became smaller and smaller, they began to spread out, fight among themselves and light occasional trash can fires,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement early Wednesday. “People within the crowd were overheard saying the night was a success.”
Officers made several “targeted arrests,” and by midnight, the crowd had dwindled down to a few dozen people, according to police. Five people, ranging in age from 21 to 30, were booked into jail on various charges, including criminal mischief, riot and arson, police said.
MORE: George Floyd’s legacy: Friends, family and activists reflect on his impact a year after deathTuesday marked one year since a Minneapolis police officer killed Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man.
The Auschwitz‑Birkenau Memorial and State Museum on Tuesday condemned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene after she likened a grocery store’s policy of identifying vaccinated employees to Jews being forced to wear yellow stars in Nazi Germany.
Greene, who represents a district in northwestern Georgia, responded to a local Tennessee grocery store that said employees who were vaccinated for COVID-19 would not be required to wear a mask and would “have a vaccination logo displayed on their name badge.” She said such logos were like the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear before and during the Holocaust.
“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star,” Greene wrote in a tweet. “Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable.”
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Responses to the Georgia congresswoman included a message from the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, located at sites in Poland where the Nazis killed more than 1 million people — most of them Jewish — during the Holocaust.
“The instrumentalization of the tragedy of Jews who suffered, were humiliated, marked with a yellow star, isolated in ghettos & murdered during the Holocaust, in a debate on different systems that aim at protecting public health is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline,” the museum tweeted.
Greene’s remarks represented a doubling down after she was similarly criticized recently for drawing a comparison between public-health precautions and Nazi discrimination of Jews.
Earlier this month, Greene lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for continuing a mask mandate in the chamber. Greene called Pelosi “mentally ill” and compared the mask mandate, which she described as “abuse,” to Holocaust atrocities.
“You know, we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany,” Greene said. “And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”
A bystander filmed the white officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as three other officers stood by while Floyd could be heard saying, “I can’t breathe.” The incident in Minnesota sparked widespread outrage, anti-racism protests and calls for police reform across the United States and around the world.
Portland became a national flashpoint in the protest movement. Demonstrations were held in the downtown area for more than 100 consecutive days last year, with many nights ending in violent clashes between protesters and authorities.
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In a statement acknowledging the one year anniversary of Floyd’s death, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell thanked those “who have come in peace to join in driving efforts to bring about positive change.”
“The Portland Police Bureau has listened to calls for reform in policing and equity across all systems,” Lovell said. “The public servants of the Portland Police Bureau look forward to making closer connections and strengthening relationships as we work together to increase safety, equity and peace in our city.
We need to balance the enforcement role we have with compassion and humility and recognize our shared humanity. A journey of police reform and change is a journey we are on together and have to aid each other along the way.”