A man driving near a demonstration in Portland, Oregon has been taken to hospital after being pulled from his car and physically attacked by several protesters – one of whom deliberately kicked him in the head.
The attack, which was filmed by various bystanders, occurred late on Sunday night at the intersection of Broadway and Southwest Taylor Street, a few blocks from the federal courthouse and other buildings that have been the focus of recent protests.
Footage shared on Twitter by by local journalists seemingly shows the incident beginning with altercation outside a nearby 7-Eleven, where a group of protesters gather around the man’s white car, shouting and banging on the doors. He then starts the car and drives several blocks before crashing.
Subsequent clips show the man remonstrating with protesters outside his crashed car, and then pushed to the ground before being beaten and kicked.
Another clip then shows the man still sitting in the street when a protester wearing a vest marked “security” runs up behind him and kicks him hard in the head.
In footage from after the kick, he can be seen lying on the ground apparently unconscious and bleeding as people gather around him, with various voices shouting “call 911”. Other protesters rummage through the truck, seemingly to look for stolen goods or weapons.
Protesters can be heard in several videos from the scene claiming that the still-unidentified man deliberately drove his car into the crowd. Some voices appear to accuse him of being a white supremacist.
The corner where the man was attacked was soon cordoned off by the police, who issued a statement with a limited account of what happened.
“At 10:27pm,” it read, “Central Precinct officers responded to a report of an injury accident at Southwest Broadway and Southwest Taylor Street. The report said protesters were chasing the truck before it crashed, and they assaulted the driver after the crash.
“Officers encountered a hostile crowd and a squad from the Rapid Response Team responded to help secure the scene while the investigation was underway. The driver was transported to the hospital by ambulance with serious injuries. The incident is under investigation and no arrests have been made.”
Video of the attack and its aftermath is being shared widely by right-wing commentators and Twitter users, who are pointing to it as evidence that Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist and anti-police demonstrators are principally engaged in violence, not peaceful protest. Many of them are pointing to the fact that the man was both white and apparently unarmed.
The attack follows a weekend of violence between protesters and police. The department declared a riot on Saturday night, arresting numerous people and deploying smoke bombs after rocks were thrown at officers and cars.