On Sunday night, a mob of nearly 300 people marched into a Portland city park, strapped chains around statues of Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, and pulled them to the ground.
Demonstrators dressed in black smashed the windows of the Oregon Historical Society and threw flares inside in an attempt to burn the building down. They vandalized businesses, tagged buildings with graffiti, and fired bullets through a restaurant’s front window as a riot was declared.
Riots like this may look like pure chaos, but police leaders believe Sunday’s criminal behavior was planned from the start. Advertisements for the “direct action” event barred cameras and journalists, evidence that organizers wanted to avoid accountability for the violence, police say.
The violent demonstrations that erupted in American cities after George Floyd’s death in May are often portrayed in mainstream media as spontaneous, leaderless uprisings.