Portland Police Officer Seen Repeatedly Punching Protester as Riot Declared

Video has emerged showing a Portland Police officer repeatedly punching a protester on the ground while trying to detain him.

The incident was captured by reporter Sergio Olmos on Monday night, who described how the officer "runs ahead of his line, tackles a protester, and starts punching them on the ground."

Several other officers then surround the pair as they tussle and the officer places the protester in handcuffs.

The clip has since been viewed more than 470,000 times on Twitter. In another tweet, Olmos claimed it was the second incident of police officers in Portland punching protesters on the ground on Monday night.

A police officer runs ahead of his line, tackles a protester, and starts punching them on the ground pic.twitter.com/gpwmMjwuWC

— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) September 1, 2020

Portland Police declared a riot was taking place on Monday night as protesters broke windows and lit fires while demanding the resignation of Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Police said the crowd gathered in the North Park Blocks near Northwest Park Avenue and Northwest Couch Street, before making their way to Northwest 10th Avenue and Northwest Glisan Street where Wheeler lives.

Fireworks were set off and loud music was played during the demonstrations coinciding with Wheeler's 58th birthday.

Fires were also lit on the streets, with protesters seen making graffitiing and breaking windows.

"In an attempt to de-escalate, officers stayed out of sight and monitored the situation from a distance," Portland Police said in a statement. "However, the vandalism and burning continued."

Police said people continued to burglarize the businesses as well as remove furniture to throw on the fires.

An unlawful assembly was declared at 11:05 p.m. with people told they must vacate the streets or face arrest.

Two minutes later, police observed one protester throwing burning material into a ground-level business situated at the bottom of an occupied apartment building.

Police then declared a riot was taking place as the fire could have presented an "extreme life safety concern."

Police also tweeted a video showing the start of the blaze, explaining that a riot was declared in the area "to allow firefighters to respond to this dangerous situation."

The force added in a statement: "Over loudspeaker, participants in the gathering were told that the area was closed to all persons, including media and legal observers, to allow firefighters to respond and extinguish the fires. Few, if any, of the persons complied."

This was the arson fire that prompted a riot declaration tonight. It was critical to secure the area to allow firefighters to respond to this dangerous situation. https://t.co/k33vcLD4BY

— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) September 1, 2020

Police said they then attempted to move the crowd on, with smoke grenades and crowd-control munitions deployed in their attempts to control the crowd of protesters.

In response, police were allegedly hit with missiles including rocks and paint balloons.

In total, 19 arrests were made for offenses such as disorderly conduct in the second degree and interfering with a peace officer.

Some of those arrested were also found to be in possession of weapons including knives and at least one expandable baton.

It is unclear what the man in the video being punched by the officer was arrested for.

Portland Police have been contacted for comment.

(File photo) A Portland police officer points a less lethal weapon at anti-police protesters near the east police precinct a day after political violence left one person dead on August 30, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Video has emerged showing a Portland Police officer repeatedly punching a protester on the ground as a riot was declared. Nathan Howard/Getty