Police

Ap Reporter: “I Spent The Weekend Inside The Portland Federal Courthouse With The Us Marshals… Fireworks & Flares Shot Into The Lobby, Frozen Bottles, Concrete”

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AP Reporter: I spent the weekend inside the Portland federal courthouse w/ the US Marshals. Mortars were being fired off repeatedly, fireworks & flares shot into the lobby, frozen bottles, concrete, cans & bouncy balls regularly whizzed over the fence at high speeds.

We wanted to show you a look inside the protests from both perspectives — out in the crowd with protesters and inside the courthouse with federal officers.

It was a really eye opening experience to see it firsthand. I was inside the courthouse & @gflaccus was outside the fence.

I watched as injured officers were hauled inside. In one case, the commercial firework came over so fast the officer didn’t have time to respond. It burned through his sleeves & he had bloody gashes on both forearms. Another had a concussion from being hit in the head w/ a mortar

The lights inside the courthouse have to be turned off for safety & the light from high-powered lasers bounced across the lobby almost all night. The fear is palpable. Three officers were struck in the last few weeks & still haven’t regained their vision.

When we were out inside the fence line, someone fired off a mortar. It exploded inches away from us, but no one was hurt. A large bonfire had been started in the street & people were aiming fireworks through the fire at officers behind the fence. It was almost 2:30 a.m. then.

The officers outside the Portland courthouse have been hit by an array of objects from canned food to ball bearings fired from slingshots. On Saturday night, a DHS officer was soaked completely in orange paint thrown from of one of many paint cans later seized by authorities.

It was clear USMS tactical decisions this weekend were very thought out. Even after a large hole was cut in the fence on Sat. night, they made a decision not to go out b/c it could escalate tensions. They cleared the area only after a huge section of the fence was pulled down.

It was really striking talking to the Deputy US Marshals who have been working to protect the courthouse for weeks. Many are from Portland. They have friends who peacefully protest during the day, but at night, they say demonstrations are hijacked by agitators set on violence.

A Deputy US Marshal told me, “I am worried for my life, every time I walk outside of the building” & that feeling extends widely. They are offended by being told to get out of Portland. They live there, work daily to take violent criminals off the street & it is their city too.

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