Bicycle riders ensnared by police and Proud Boys during weekend protests

Bicycle riders ensnared by police and Proud Boys during weekend protests

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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