Police Clash with Rioters in Smaller Oregon City

Eugene, Oregon
Eugene Police Department

Police clashed with rioters in Eugene, Oregon, a city two hours away from Portland on Saturday as hundreds of rioters targeted a federal courthouse and a county jail with fireworks before attacking downtown businesses.

Demonstrators mirrored tactics used by rioters in Portland, Oregon, which as of Sunday, has witnessed 60 straight nights of civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Seven adults and one minor were arrested as a result of the Eugene riots on Saturday, and an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist group of teenagers appeared to be raising money for their bail using an unverified Twitter account and Venmo.

It remains unclear who helps fund and organize these riots, as protesters come ready and armed with ammunition and fireworks, as well as shields and helmets for when they standoff against local and federal law enforcement officers.

In Eugene, crowds blocked off the street to stop a man in a pickup truck from passing.

After the crowd surrounded the driver’s vehicle Saturday night, he opened his door and brandished his handgun, pointing it in the direction of another armed man wearing a helmet and a black t-shirt.

It is unclear if either man in the video was arrested, but the video of the encounter reached more than 1.9 million views as of Monday afternoon.

Unlike Portland, Eugene has not used federal law enforcement to quell the protesters. Local police seem to be using drones to monitor crowds before taking a hands-on approach to stop the violence.

The Eugene Police Department said it was aware of a pre-planned protest at the U.S. Federal Courthouse beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Armed counterprotesters showed up, and one man was arrested after firing one shot into the air in the middle of a crowd of 300 people.

Police said the counterprotesters went their separate ways around 10 p.m. and the 200 demonstrators that remained launched fireworks at the federal courthouse and blocked traffic. The rioters then marched toward the Lane County Jail, where they set off smoke bombs and lit fireworks in the employee parking area.

The rioters then made their way downtown while taking down street signs, spray-painting buildings, and breaking the windows of a Whole Foods and a Wells Fargo.

They also lit fireworks at the local Elkhorn Brewing Company and smashed several windows while employees were inside the brewery.

“Employees were inside the building at the time and managed to escape safely as police moved into the area to prevent further damage or harm to life safety,” police said in a statement on Facebook. “It’s important to note that police were not on the ground during much of the initial hours to avoid any escalating presence. Monitoring for crowd and pedestrian traffic safety was done remotely via drone.”

Officers were pelted by large rocks from the crowd, and some received minor injuries as a result. Police deployed pepper ball munitions and two canisters of CS gas to quell the violence.

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