Vancouver Police: ‘Peaceful conduct switched to destructive behavior to include destruction of property and vandalism’
VANCOUVER – Demonstrations and protests against law enforcement Friday night led to a number of arrests of protesters who engaged in the destruction of property and vandalism according to information provided by the Vancouver Police Department Saturday.
On Friday at about 10 p.m., a group, which grew to approximately 300 people within the span of about 15 minutes, began congregating in Esther Short Park to express their concerns about the recent death of Kevin Peterson Jr. following an officer-involved shooting that occurred with deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Thursday. Protesters had gathered in Hazel Dell earlier Friday evening near a vigil held for Peterson Jr., a 21-year-old Camas resident and Union High School graduate. Many of those who gathered in Hazel Dell, moved later in the evening to downtown Vancouver to continue their protest.
According to Vancouver Police, law enforcement officials were in the area of the park to ensure individuals could exercise their First Amendment rights and create a safe environment for expression of these rights. At approximately 10:15 p.m., the group began marching in downtown Vancouver taking over the street and blocking traffic.
According to Vancouver Police, as the group of demonstrators continued to grow beyond the initial attendees, their peaceful conduct switched to destructive behavior to include destruction of property and vandalism. At approximately 11 p.m., police received information regarding a dumpster fire in the downtown area. Another dumpster fire was reported at approximately 11:50 p.m.
At 12:15 a.m., the group reportedly became more aggressive when it congregated near the Clark County Jail and began throwing rocks at law enforcement personnel. A disbursement order was given to the crowd. The crowd did disburse but re-congregated shortly thereafter near Esther Short Park.
At 12:25 a.m., there were reports of shots being fired in the air by one of the protestors; however, no injuries were reported as a result of that.
At 12:54 a.m., additional orders to disburse were given by police multiple times to the group in the area of Esther Short Park. As the group began to spread out, police were able to engage with the crowd and move people out of the area. Those that refused to obey the disbursal orders were arrested for Failure To Disburse (RCW 9A.84.020):
- Daniel C. Ring, Age 28, Vancouver, WA
- Laura L. Vetsch, Age 28, Eugene, OR
- Ruby D. Martin, Age 31, Eugene, OR
- Fahiym B. Acuay, Age 39, Portland, OR
- Michael B. Rivera, Age 39, Camas, WA
- Nick I. Caleb, Age 37, Unknown city of residence
No chemical munitions were used by police during this incident.
As a result of the unlawful behavior of the demonstrators, multiple businesses in the downtown area incurred property damage to include broken windows and graffiti. Anyone who was not contacted by police last night and needs to report property damage to their residence or business should call 3-1-1.
The investigations into individuals responsible for criminal acts related to this protest are continuing.
The Vancouver Police Department acknowledges the event that led to the community expressing itself through demonstration activity and respects the rights of individuals to peacefully assemble.
“Violence and destruction does not benefit anyone,’’ said Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain. “The Vancouver Police Department is committed to working with the community toward improving trust and policing practices but does not condone criminal behavior. This commitment has been demonstrated through the on-going meetings with the City’s Community Task Force on Policing, which is devoted to positive outcomes for the benefit of everyone.”
“The death of Kevin Peterson is a tragic loss to his family and community. These events are traumatic for all involved; Mr. Peterson’s family, the officers and their families and friends,” said Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle. “I and the City Council send our utmost compassion and care to all who have been touched by these events.
“And in the shadow of this loss, we must still care for our entire community,” the mayor said. “Destructive behavior is contrary to the goals of the City, the Vancouver Police Department and our community, and will only lead to deeper scarring in our community.“
Information provided by Vancouver Police Department.