Portland protests: Man facing charges after damage to Oregon Historical Society

Malik Fard Muhamad was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, one count of possession of a loaded firearm in public, one count of criminal mischief in the first degree and one count of riot.

CNN has reached out to Muhamad and his family for a statement.

Activists called for people to march Sunday for an “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage,” the day before the federally recognized Columbus Day. Police declared the protest a riot after the group of about 300 people vandalized businesses and toppled statues of Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Law enforcement identified Muhamad as part of a group of people wearing all black and vandalizing buildings, according to a news release from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office. Muhamad ran from police as they attempted to arrest him, the release said.

During the arrest, police found a pistol behind barrels he was hiding behind that they matched with a loaded pistol magazine in Muhamad’s pocket, the release said.

Detectives say Muhamad has been living in Washington and has attended multiple protests over the past few months in which violence occurred, according to the release.

“It is sickening to me to see the destruction that occurred in Portland overnight,” said District Attorney Mike Schmidt.

A woman pulls a quilt from the display case inside the Oregon Historical Society during an Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage protest.

Conflict over racism and inequality

The damage done to the Oregon Historical Society is “inexcusable,” Schmidt said.

“They have put a spotlight on white supremacy, racism, civil rights and social inequality. They have elevated the voices and stories of marginalized and underserved communities in Oregon,” he said.

Schmidt said his office is committed to prosecuting crimes connected to protest violence.

Multiple arrests have already been made in connection to Sunday’s demonstrations, including a person armed with a loaded pistol who broke numerous windows, and the driver involved in pulling down the Roosevelt statue, according to Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell.

CNN has reached out to the apparent organizers in Portland for comment but has not yet received a response.

In addition to being pulled down, both Lincoln and Roosevelt’s statues had references to violence committed against indigenous people spray painted on them.

Roosevelt’s statue had “stolen lands” written on it. He has drawn criticism for his forced removal of indigenous persons, which he used to make his conservation efforts possible.

Photos show the statue of Lincoln with “Dakota 38,” a reference to the Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising. Lincoln ordered the hanging of 38 Dakota natives in Mankato, Minnesota — the largest mass execution in the US.

Then-Minnesota Gov. Alexander Ramsey originally ordered more than 300 men sentenced to hanging but Lincoln reduced the number.

Lovell said protesters broke several windows of the Historical Society pavilion, tossing at least three lit flares inside. The flares extinguished themselves and did not do any serious damage.

Kerry Tymchuk, the historical society’s executive director, said an African American quilt made by 15 African American women ahead of the US bicentennial, “a priceless piece of history here,” was stolen from the building. The quilt was found several blocks away Monday morning, very wet but salvageable, according to Tymchuk.

CNN’s Paul P. Murphy and Laurie Ure contributed to this report.

Source Article