Portland, OR – Seven rioters accused of assaulting officers and defacing a federal courthouse are facing federal charges in Portland, the U.S. Attorney Billy Williams announced on Tuesday.
All seven were released from jail after their first court appearances on July 6, KGW reported.
According to investigators, the rioters were arrested for incidents that occurred between July 2 and the early-morning hours of July 6, KOIN reported.
Portland resident Rowan Olsen, 19, was charged with creating a hazard on federal property, disorderly conduct, and failing to obey a lawful order.
Prosecutors said Olsen shattered the glass doors of the Hatfield Courthouse while trying to hold it closed to keep officers trapped inside on July 2, KOIN reported.
Later in the night, a rioter launched a mortar into the courthouse through the broken doors, causing and explosion near the officers inside the building.
A small fire broke out as a result of the explosion, police said.
Olsen also allegedly provided investigators with a false name and date of birth.
During his court appearance on Monday, Olsen said he has reassessed his thinking since he was arrested, The Oregonian reported.
He said he is now interested in finding a way to communicate with police “about what needs to change rather than creating more destruction in our city.”
Olsen further claimed that he never heard officers’ orders to leave the federal courthouse, and said he suffered scrapes to his hand after police “slammed him to the ground” and arrested him, The Oregonian reported.
He was already on probation for criminal mischief and aggravated harassment at the time of his arrest.
According to investigators, Olsen was arrested in 2019 for threatening an officer with a skateboard and spitting on him while trying to stop him from arresting another man on an assault charge, The Oregonian reported.
Oceanside, California resident Shant Singh Ahuja, 28, was charged for allegedly destroying one of the closed-circuit cameras mounted outside the courthouse, KOIN reported.
Portland residents Andrew Steven Faulkner, 24, Christopher Fellini, 31, Cody Porter, 28, and Eugene resident Taimaine Teo, 24, all face charges for allegedly shining high-intensity lasers at the federal officers.
Investigators said that Faulkner was carrying a sheathed machete at the time of the incidents.
Seattle, Washington resident Gretchen Blank, 29, has been charged for allegedly using a shield to assault a federal officer, KOIN reported.
According to federal officials, it will cost at least $50,000 to repair the damaged and defaced federal courthouse, The Oregonian reported.
“The U.S. Marshals are responsible for the protection of the federal judiciary, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson Lynzey Donahue told the paper. “Working with our federal law enforcement partners, we will continue to investigate, arrest and prosecute those persons instigating or involved in riots, looting and other violence against persons and property involving the violation of federal law.”
The riots in Portland have continued for more than 40 consecutive nights in the wake of the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, according to The Washington Times.
Over the Independence Day weekend, large mobs shattered more windows at the graffiti-laden courthouse and hurled mortars, bricks, M-80s and “other flammables” at officers, KGW reported.
Multiple officers were injured in the attacks, according to police.
“Our community deserves better than nightly criminal activity that destroys the value and fabric of our community,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said, according to KGW.
Rioters looted and torched North Portland businesses and tried to burn down an occupied police precinct while unsuccessfully attempting to establish an “autonomous zone” in the early morning hours of June 26, according to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB).
The mass destruction occurred after a group of anti-police protesters marched from Fernhill Park to the PPB’s North Precinct at the intersection of Northeast Emerson Street and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard the evening before, KVAL reported.
By about 10 p.m., hundreds of people had gathered outside the police station and began blocking traffic while they constructed a fence to set up their own “autonomous zone,” according to KOIN.
Rioters hurled glass bottles and other projectiles at officers before ramming two dumpsters into the garage doors in an attempt to force entry into the west side of the precinct, the PPB told KVAL.
When their efforts to bust in failed, the rioters opted to barricade the doors of the precinct so officers and inmates would be unable to escape, according to police.
“Burn the building down!” a rioter with a bullhorn yelled at approximately 12 a.m., according to KVAL.
Rioters also lit large fires in the middle of the street, KVAL reported.
The crowd launched fireworks at police who had positioned themselves behind a barricade on Northeast Emerson Street.
Police declared the gathering to be an unlawful assembly at approximately 1 a.m., and ordered the mob to either disperse or be arrested, KVAL reported.
They waited for 20 minutes before they began breaking up the gathering.
Rioters responded by firing paintball rounds at officers’ face shields, blocking their ability to see, KVAL reported.
One rioter launched a mortar onto the roof of the precinct, at which point police began deploying crowd control munitions.
The mob managed to set the north side of the station on fire at approximately 2:15 a.m., threatening the lives of the inmates and police employees inside the building, according to the PPB.
Officers launched CS gas at the crowd in order to save the people inside the precinct, the department said.
Some of the rioters managed to toss the canisters back at police, KVAL reported.
By approximately 3 a.m., most of the violent mob had turned its attention to looting, vandalizing and torching nearby businesses.
Police arrested a total of four suspects during the mayhem.
All of them have been charged for assaulting or attempting to assault police officers, KVAL reported.
On July 1, rioters set the 120-year-old Thompson Elk Fountain sculpture ablaze near the federal courthouse, cell phone videos showed.
The mob spray-painted the federal building and ripped off the protective wood boards from the courthouse windows, FOX News reported.
They used some of the wood to set up barricades, then used the rest to ignite an inferno under the 120-year-old bronze elk statue.
Cell phone footage showed the graffiti-covered fountain as it became engulfed by the flames.
It is unclear whether or not the historic statue can be repaired.
Rioters attacked police with water bottles and other projectiles outside the federal courthouse on throughout the night, at which point police deployed at least one flash-bang and multiple pepper balls in an effort to disperse them, FOX News reported.
The crowd also launched fireworks at the Multnomah County Justice Center building, according to the news outlet.
Police arrested 29 rioters on the night of July 1, KPTV reported.
As the night progressed, a group of rioters broke into the north doors of the Justice Center, then headed over to Third Avenue and shattered the glass doors of the heavily-graffitied federal courthouse.
Shortly before midnight, a group of federal officers exited the courthouse and staged outside in order to “protect the integrity of their building,” the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said, according to KPTV.
Rioters responded by using sling shots to hurl large rocks and full cans and bottles at the officers, KPTV reported.
They also launched commercial-grade fireworks at them, sending at least one of the explosives through the previously-shattered courthouse doors.
The mob then proceeded to build a fire over on Southwest Main Street, KATU reported.
Police used a PPB sound truck to announce that the gathering was deemed to be a riot after the crowd refused to stop attacking officers, according to KPTV.
They also warned the mob that officers would use force against them if they continued to commit criminal acts.
Despite the orders to disperse, many rioters remained in the area, KPTV reported.
One suspect hurled an open pocketknife at an officer, missing him by mere inches, police said.
The “hostile and violent” crowd continued throwing fireworks, full cans, and large rocks at the officers as they worked to break up the gathering, according to the PPD.
At approximately 1 a.m., while the dispersal effort was still underway, the mob made its way back to the west side of the courthouse and launched mortars at the building, KPTV reported.
One of the explosives flew through the shattered doors – this time igniting a blaze, police said.
Due to the “violent nature of the demonstrators,” officers ultimately resorted to using “crowd control munitions” to quell the mayhem, according to the PPB.
Multiple arrests were made, police said.