Portland was subjected to more protests overnight, as activists and agitators, including one man in a wheelchair, faced off against police. Elsewhere in the city, a church caught fire, prompting speculation as to the culprits.
There were at least 30 arrests in Portland over the weekend – for violent conduct, assaults on police officers, and rioting – despite mainstream media reports continuing to describe the rallies as “fairly calm” and “largely peaceful.”
On Sunday night, a protester in a wheelchair was filmed arguing with police, who responded with force and pushed the man back to the sidewalk. The encounter prompted outrage in some online quarters and mockery in others.
PORTLAND: an irate small handicapped protester in a wheelchair is pushed back by police after refusing to stay on the sidewalk Protesters seemed to think he deserved special treatment because he is disabledPortland police treated him equally to abled people as required by law pic.twitter.com/Gq8Om08ZzB
— ELIJAH RIOT (@ElijahSchaffer) September 28, 2020
The man has been identified as Dustin Brandon and was arrested earlier in September for allegedly ramming riot police with his chair.
Minutes later Dustin Brandon is arrested pic.twitter.com/sDOHnGhZYI
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) September 1, 2020
Meanwhile, there were scuffles between riot police and protesters throughout Sunday night, but it doesn’t appear there was anywhere near the level of violence that has been witnessed on an almost nightly basis in the city since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May.
However, a three-story former church caught fire downtown. The Portland Korean Church building was sold in 2015 and has remained largely unoccupied since.
A church was just burned in downtown Portland. pic.twitter.com/nsZX3cvC9H
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) September 28, 2020
— Untethered (@UntetheredDale) September 28, 2020
Portland Fire & Rescue said the cause of the blaze had yet to be determined, but that it affected all three stories of the building. No one was inside at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.
Commentators online were quick to speculate as to the perpetrators, however, rather than waiting for the facts of the fire to come to light, with many blaming Antifa, citing alleged Bible burnings at protests in Portland over the summer as a precedent.
ANTIFAith. First Bibles. Now a church. Burnings at the stake are next …
— Andrew Daub (@eropromptus) September 28, 2020