A group of protesters beat a man bloody and unconscious in the street after he crashed a truck during a confrontation that unfolded near a Black Lives Matter demonstration in downtown Portland late Sunday night, according to police, witnesses and multiple videos.
Several people kicked, punched and pushed the man to the ground after his white Ford slammed into a light pole about 10:30 p.m. near Southwest Broadway and Taylor Street, just blocks from a rally outside the Multnomah County Justice Center, videos show.
Jorge Ventura, a reporter with The Daily Caller, a conservative news site based in Washington, D.C., said the driver appeared intoxicated when he first got out of the pickup.
“He kind of seemed like he may have been drinking earlier in the evening,” said Ventura, who posted multiple videos of the scene on Twitter. “He was really discombobulated.”
Some among the crowd tried to hold the assailants back during the clash, while others began to rifle through the man’s truck, video shows.
As the driver sat on the ground, a person wearing a vest with “SECURITY” written on the front and back ran from behind and kicked the driver in the face, apparently knocking him unconscious, according to witnesses and multiple videos. The driver remained still on the ground with his eyes closed.
“It was just totally brutal,” Ventura said.
Portland police said in news releases Monday that they received a report of protesters chasing the truck before its driver crashed — and that the group attacked the driver afterward. It wasn’t immediately clear what spurred the violent confrontation.
Multiple social media posts allege that someone had been driving erratically downtown and had tried to run over protesters several times, though those accounts could not be independently verified.
Shortly before the attack, protesters had surrounded the man’s truck near a 7-Eleven a few blocks away at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Taylor Street, video shows.
Police said the driver may have been trying to help someone who had their things stolen outside the convenience store.
Another video, published by Drew Hernandez, a videographer who runs the YouTube channel “Lives Matter,” showed a woman in a blue tank top being tackled to the ground near the 7-Eleven.
Some in the crowd came to the woman’s aid. And the truck — surrounded by people, some kicking it or pulling on its doors — pulled into the intersection against the light and sped away west along Taylor Street toward the intersection where it crashed.
People from the crowd followed after the truck, video shows.
Before being kicked unconscious, the man can be heard in one video saying: “I ain’t trying to hurt no one.”
Another video shows the man immobile and bleeding from the back of the head after the attack. Some street medics tried to help him as they urged others to call 911.
The woman in the blue tank top later arrived at the crash scene.
A handful of officers arrived later and encountered “a hostile crowd,” Portland police said. The driver, who was still unconscious, was taken to a hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to the police news releases.
The connection between the driver of the truck and the woman who was tackled remains unclear. But Sam Pape, 28, said they saw them both outside the bar Church on Northeast Sandy Boulevard and 26th Avenue several hours before the downtown confrontation.
The pair had been loudly arguing with each other about 7 p.m. when the woman grabbed a gas canister from the man and took off in a separate car, said Pape, who works at Church. The man went back to his white Ford truck, which was parked nearby, and proceeded to drink several bottles of Miller High Life he had stashed away over the next half hour.
At one point, the man got into a verbal altercation with another person on Northeast Sandy and pulled out a hatchet from his truck, Pape said. He also yelled several racist slurs at the person, according to Pape.
The woman eventually returned with the gas canister and they both left in their separate vehicles.
“I am absolutely certain that it was them,” said Pape, who saw the videos of the confrontations the next morning.
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt on Monday night condemned the attacks on the truck driver.
“The actions depicted in these videos are universally rejected as wrong – and the actions are illegal,” Schmidt said in a statement. “Assaults will not be tolerated in our community.”
The attack remains under investigation, and no arrests have been made, police said. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Brent Christensen at 503-823-2087 or at Brent.Christensen@portlandoregon.gov.
The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Lizzy Acker and Jim Ryan contributed to this report.
— Shane Dixon Kavanaugh; 503-294-7632
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