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Bicycle riders ensnared by police and Proud Boys during weekend protests

Posted by on September 29th, 2020 at 2:53 pm

On at least two occasions Saturday, people riding bicycles through a public park were stopped and questioned by armed individuals with no authority to do so. Later in the evening in downtown Portland a man was shoved from his bike onto the ground by Portland Police Bureau officers for no apparent reason.

“I was questioned by a person with a helmet and AR-16 style rifle. The only answer I would give was that I was trying to get through the park.”
— Reader Stephen V.

As you probably know, a group known as the Proud Boys — designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center — held a rally in Delta Park on Saturday. The event spurred concern from every level of government — including the Governor’s office. Many worried about interactions with other protestors in the area — including one event that was behind held very close by.

In the end there were no confrontations because the groups never interacted with each other. The Proud Boys might have been afraid and/or embarrassed because they didn’t have nearly as large a turnout as they hoped for (200 or so instead of 10-20,000).

But that didn’t stop the heavily armed group from commandeering a public park. At one point they set up a checkpoint and hassled visitors for no reason whatsoever. One bicycle rider was caught on video by The Oregonian as he tried to ride through the park. Keep in mind the path through Delta Park is a key north-south bicycle route in the area that offers a direct between north Portland and Jantzen Beach/Vancouver. In the video the Proud Boy members forcibly stop the man’s bicycle and appear to ask him several questions about his intentions. They can then be heard telling him he must bike through and exit the park without stopping.

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One of our readers shared via Facebook that he too was stopped at the checkpoint. “I rode part way into the Delta Park group,” he wrote. “I was quickly questioned by a person with a helmet and AR-16 style rifle. The only answer I would give was that I was trying to get through the park.”

Both of these situations are absolutely unacceptable. It’s still unclear why Oregon State Police and other law enforcement officials stationed at the park didn’t take action to break up the checkpoints and/or hold people accountable for these illegal confrontations. OSP said in a statement that they’re investigating a separate assault of a journalist in the park and that they stopped several people for traffic violations.

Hours later when Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protesters gathered downtown, a video emerged from an Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter showing PPB officers throw a bicycle rider to the ground. The man on the bicycle appeared to be unaware of the situation and was reportedly just out delivering food to someone prior to the incident. We haven’t heard if an investigation into this arrest has been initiated. If anyone has details, please let us know.

Innocent people being caught up in these protests by unaccountable, unhinged and heavily-armed individuals is extremely concerning. It seems as if our local and state police are getting more aggressive and brutal, even as protests against this very type of treatment have gone on for well over 100 days.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Racer X
Guest

This report is just another way that the City of Portland (PBOT+ Parks) shows how well it understands the value of this important regional bike highway through Delta Park / NoPo for the last 50 years since built…basically not much, as they only drive their car / or are driven past it on up high on the highway. Even though the City controls this access and land 100%…you would not know it from the substandard marked crosswalk(s) between play fields and parking, lack of southend sidewalk and safe / legal bike access to it from the MAX station, and how illegal / poorly managed sport event parking creates hazards for other park users or pass by trips.

Dave Smothers
Guest
Dave Smothers

It’s no secret that police departments nationwide have been heavily infiltrated by assorted white supremacists. Some departments actively recruit them. Don’t know about PPB but I suspect so. New normal in the land of the free, home of the brave?

JR
Guest
JR

I thought the organizer of this rally made a comment to the effect that weapons or violence were not welcome? They never received a permit to hold a rally in the park, yet they felt empowered/necessary to operate an armed checkpoint. This just demonstrates how afraid and exclusive this group is. Quite the opposite of Portland’s civic values. The police performance/inaction in this instance is not surprising.

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

Jonathan…don’t be naive. The police did not stop the checkpoints for the same reason that they don’t confront Antifa protesters who stop car traffic. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Protest fatigue.

Roberta Robles
Guest
Roberta Robles

This just shows how vulnerable bike riders are, we aren’t in cars and now subject to gun checks and police body checks. Which just shows how much PDX bicycling activist have shown up and supported #BLM activists. We have been a vital and threatening support crew to #BLM. I wish #BLM would show cyclists some love. Instead we have Lew Frederick supporting Tear Gas Teddy. Sarah absolutely deserves the support of PDX #BLM leaders. Of course cyclists are now targeted with a spoiler mayoral campaign. There are no saviors here, but patriarchy is lining up against the the only woman who has the chance to win.

Who wants to start a recall petition for Frederick?

Tom
Guest
Tom

Going by PPD Twitter, it seems like the most common reason PPD declare and unlawful assembly is that the crowd is blocking right of way for cars.

PPDs definition is…
“an unlawful assembly that constitutes a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic upon the public streets or when another immediate threat to public safety, peace or order appears.”

Portland defines a “street” as…includes any street, avenue, boulevard, alley, lane, bridge, bicycle path, road, walk, public thoroughfare or public way, and any land over which a right of way has been obtained, or granted and accepted for any purpose of public travel.

The definition clearly includes the path through the park, yet no unlawful assembly was declared. It looks like PPD is not following their own definition.

Ethan Jewett
Guest
Ethan Jewett

It’s not a big mystery why the cops turn a blind eye to right-wing paramilitaries

Tom
Guest
Tom

I think there should be in investigation into whether PPD worked together with the proud boys to create a scare to generate support for PPD being deputized as federal agents in preparation for the event, apparently until the end of the year. I think PPD was frustrated by the city oversite, especially with regard to the use of tear gas. Now, as federal agents, PPD has independence from city oversight and can take direction from federal agents and adopt fed policies and practices at will, without city government interference. The inflated attendance numbers were only a scare tactic to create support for the federal deputations.

It looks like today the city figured this out, but too late now.

https://www.koin.com/local/multnomah-county/portland-mayor-withdraws-consent-for-police-deputization/

qqq
Guest
qqq

The situation in the video is actually pretty terrifying. You’re riding in a park and suddenly someone grabs your wheel and you’re instantly surrounded by several masked people in protective gear, and possibly armed. You’re at their mercy. Are they going to steal your bike? Beat you? or only beat you if you don’t cooperate with them?

As others have said, that’s way beyond having someone get in your way when driving. It’s more like a group of people surrounding you, opening both your front doors, grabbing your steering wheel, and taking your keys. Police need to treat it like that.

Jay Henderson
Guest
Jay Henderson

All the guns but where’s the gunplay? All they do is carry ’em around.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Yeah it’s not much fun when the shoe is on the other foot is it?

dwk
Guest
dwk

I rode through the park and checked out the rally. There were 3 percenters doing security with AK-47s in the open.
They walked right past the police cars.
BLM supporters would have been shot.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Is there a legal defense fund set up for the food delivery person who was viscously attacked? I’m hoping he will have enough funds to launch a civil suit.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I love how the organizers of PB event harassed journalists because they were violating “our safe space.” Yes, they used those words.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

Did anyone else notice (in the Delta Park video), that when they had the cyclist captured and encircled, there was another Mensa society candidate (these Mensa membership rituals are getting tougher and tougher aren’t they?), that appeared at about 15 seconds into the video that appeared to be doing something rather “curious”. Notice that as the person enters into the scene and approaches the “cycling terrorist”, their right hand is empty while the left hand is holding a small carry bag. The empty right hand disappears into the bag and then re-emerges with some sort of device. It can be seen being held in the right hand of the Mensa candidate for the remainder of the footage as the cyclist makes his way out of the mob. The object is slender and appears to be about 5 inches in length and also gives a metallic shine when it reflects off of the sun when the subject turns to escort the dangerous cyclist away.

I doubt that the metallic appearing object is a small flashlight, to be used to help the hapless and thankful cyclist through the park by shining a light to his destination, because, golly, it isn’t night time. Perhaps it is lunchtime and Einstein is preparing to cut open his box lunch that Mommy made for him…

Because it is such a curious thing to do, perhaps our friend at the Oregonian can have some of her constituents (in the photo and video department) enhance that portion of the video and help determine what this object is? After all, we want Mom to rest assured that little Johnny did remember to eat his lunch.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

There are lots of people here trying to justify the behavior of “their side” and condemn the behavior of “the other side”, but it sounds like you’re drawing distinctions where there isn’t much difference. Maybe just stop putting random passersby into situations where they’re fearful?

Pete
Guest
Pete

“It seems as if our local and state police are getting more aggressive and brutal, even as protests against this very type of treatment have gone on for well over 100 days.”

JMaus, you do realize the irony in your conclusion? 100 nights of being consistently verbally and physically assaulted, little wonder these human beings are becoming testy. I hope your city recovers; I miss it.