On the evening of April 16, nearly 50 people in black bloc gathered under the pavilion at Portland’s Peninsula Park for a vigil and march in honor of Patrick Lyoya—a 26-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo—who was killed by a Grand Rapids, Michigan police officer on April 4.
Lyoya was fatally shot in the head while laying face down on the ground by a currently unidentified Grand Rapids police officer who was on top of him. Two days after the shooting, Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack said “this was an execution,” that the video needed to be released, and that his career had been threatened if he didn’t remain silent. The video wasn’t released until April 13. Since then, the officer has since been placed on paid leave and protests in Grand Rapids have occurred daily in the days since.
Scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., people began to arrive in larger numbers close to the march’s start time 90 minutes later. In the meantime, people placed lit candles on nearby steps, spray-painted a lot of the pavilion, and conversed over food and both hot and cold beverages that were provided.
Beginning shortly after 9 p.m., the march began as the crowd moved through the nearby streets with a modest motorcade and chanted phrases including “say his name Patrick Lyoya” and “A-C-A-B all cops are bastards.”
A local Starbucks Coffee Shop was the scene of both window smashing and firework-launching. The nearby bus stop—one of several throughout the night—was also smashed. Banks, too, had their windows smashed and received spray-paint.
The crowd arrived at its apparent destination—the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct—after about 45-minutes and confronted a rooftop police officer with a firework launch. Three PPB cruisers full of officers in riot gear appeared shortly after a dumpster inside the precinct’s parking garage was lit on fire.
The crowd dispersed in various directions as soon as the police arrived. According to a PPB press release, no arrests were made and they’re currently investigating last night’s events.
At 10 p.m., several minutes after the crowd had split up and disappeared into nearby streets, the Portland Fire Department arrived to put out the dumpster fire.