Some of the “violent agitators” who have attended protests in Portland, Ore., have brought with them hockey sticks, paint, shields and even bottle of bleach, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon announced on Twitter.
“Contraband such as gasoline, hockey sticks, defense shields, leaf blowers, paint sprayers, cans of paint, and a jar prepped for a Molotov cocktail have been confiscated by federal law enforcement from violent agitators outside the federal courthouse in Portland #portlandprotest,” the tweet states, along with several images of the items that have been confiscated.
Protests first flared in the Oregon city, and throughout the nation, after the police killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minn. Floyd, a Black man, died after a White police officer, Derek Chauvin, held his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, despite Floyd’s several shouts that he could not breathe.
Portland has since reportedly seen more than 60 nights of protests, which have recently devolved into riots in the wake of the federal government’s decision to send in federal agents from the Department of Justice and erect fencing around the perimeter of a federal courthouse.
The Justice Department announced Monday that 22 people had been arrested from July 23 to July 27 in connection with the weekend’s protests outside Portland’s Hatfield Federal Courthouse, on charges including assault on a law enforcement officer, vandalism, looting and arson.
Billy J. Williams, U.S. attorney for the Oregon office, told The Oregonian said local officials were engaging in “nonsensical, political theater” by taking such issue with federal law enforcement stepping in to assist local police.
Williams called on Portlanders to urge the “violent extremists” who have tried to tear down the security fence, or have lit fires and thrown fireworks into the space between the fencing and the courthouse, to stop, according to the report.
“Until that happens, we’re going to do what we need to do to protect federal property,” he told the outlet. “When the violence ends, then there won’t be a need for the presence of nightly federal officers. … It seems quite simple.”