A protest organized by right-wing Patriot Prayer in Portland left three people hospitalized on Saturday.
Activists said at least three of people gathered to protest got injuries sustained from the crowd –control munitions fired by Portland police. A traumatic brain injury. Third-degree chemical burns. Open Wounds.
The protest brought hundreds of people from out of state to support the leader of Patriot Prayer and Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate from Vancouver. They met counter-protesters from a coalition of organizations on the left.
A group named Popular Mobilization were formed recently to counter Gibson’s protest.
Police tried to form barriers along South Natio Parkway. Police kept the groups separated.
The biggest dust-up came up when police in riot gear ordered a group of counter-protestors to disperse around 2 p.m. The group resisted obeying the instructions.
Police officers quickly began firing dozens of flash-bang grenades and rushing towards the crowd.
Officials said police vehicles were surrounded by the group and protesters. They were throwing an unknown chemical agent as well as other projectiles at officers before the police started to use flash-bang grenades. Police also fired pepper balls and so-called ‘’less lethal’’ rounds at protestors.
One flash-bang grenade struck a counter-protester in the back of the head. Even though he was wearing a helmet, he got the brain injury and hemorrhaging. A friend of the injured told he was sent to the hospital.
She said he is a Portland activist who showed up in opposition to Patriot Prayer.
A flash-bang left 52-year-old Michelle Fawcett with severe soft tissue wounds and third-degree chemical burns.
The third person was taken to hospital with a large arm wound according to street medics.
Outlaw and Assistant Chief Ryan Lee said officers are trained to fire the devices into the air over a crowd. But he didn’t believe the devices were meant to puncture helmets.
Besides leaving three people injured, four people were arrested at the dueling protests.
Molina, a U.S. Navy veteran, said in an interview before the court that she was trying to leave the area and walk away from police while shouting ‘’Stop shooting’’.
A video taken by another person at the demonstration shows how a police officer pushes her. She falls and got bruised all over her legs and knees.
Police said their main goal was to avoid violent activities happening between two groups. Some individuals got injuries, but the worst was avoided.