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Portland police declare riot outside federal courthouse on New Year's Eve, 3 arrested

Police say people destroyed property and threw dangerous objects at law enforcement officers, leading to some injuries and arrests.
Credit: Portland Police Bureau
Police shared photos of a melted garbage can (left) and a damaged crosswalk signal outside the federal courthouse in downtown on New Year's Eve.

PORTLAND, Ore — Police declared a riot outside the federal courthouse in downtown Portland on New Year's Eve. 

People started gathering near the courthouse at Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street around 7:45 p.m. The crowd grew to an estimated 80-100 people, according to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). 

In a press release, police said people in the crowd launched commercial-grade fireworks at the courthouse and at least Molotov cocktail-style firebombs were thrown.

Some threw large rocks, paint balloons, bricks and frozen water bottles at federal officers and Multnomah County deputies who engaged the crowd, police said, adding that officers citywide "had to be pulled from answering emergency calls to respond."

At 11:37 p.m., police tweeted they had declared a riot outside the courthouse. They used a loudspeaker to tell the crowd to disperse, warning that those who did not comply would be subject to arrest, citation and use of force.

Police said "few if any" paid attention to the warning, and people in the crowd started multiple fires and damaged several businesses. 

Some of the businesses include Starbucks coffee shops at Pioneer Courthouse Square and off Southwest 6th Avenue. There was also vandalism and burglaries to The Portland Wine Bar, Ben Bridge Jewelers, Pandora Jewelers, Chase Bank and the Pacific Building, according to PPB. 

A garbage can was set ablaze and melted to the pavement. A crosswalk signal was torched as well as various debris piled in the road. 

Police used some impact munitions and inert smoke to get the crowd to leave, and most people left the area by 2 a.m. No tear gas was deployed. 

Some law enforcement officers were injured during the riot but no PPB officers were hurt, police said. 

Three arrests were made during the riot, according to PPB:

Daniel Wuanti, 20, of Portland, criminally cited for interfering with a peace officer and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree.

Joshua Steele, 23, unknown residence, booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of burglary in the second degree.

A 15-year-old male juvenile, of Vernonia, was booked in juvenile detention on charges of burglary in the second degree, riot, interfering with a peace officer and a warrant for sexual assault.

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