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Police: $23 million lost due to ongoing Portland protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Downtown businesses in Portland, Oregon, have sustained about $23 million in damages and lost customers because of violent nightly protests that have wracked the city, authorities said Wednesday.

At a police briefing, Deputy Chief Chris Davis said the intensity of the violence by an “agitator corps” and the length of the protests are unprecedented in Oregon's largest city.

He made a distinction between Black Lives Matter protesters, whom he said were not violent, and a smaller group of people he repeatedly called “agitators.”

“This message is being lost in nightly violence,” he said.

Protesters have demonstrated for 41 consecutive nights against racial injustice and police brutality following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and they are increasingly focusing their actions on federal properties, including Hatfield Federal Courthouse. Authorities have declared riots several times and used tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

Earlier Wednesday, the president of the police union said he has no confidence that city leaders will move to stop the protests.

“I have no confidence that the city will stop the rioting and looting and protect the safety and livelihood of Portlanders,” union President Daryl Turner said.

He said the union recognizes the grievances and calls for change by some demonstrators.

On Tuesday the U.S. attorney in Oregon announced federal charges against seven protesters accused of defacing a federal courthouse and assaulting federal officers.

Gov. Kate Brown has said she wants police to de-escalate their encounters with protesters. KOIN reports that Turner invited her to come downtown to view the situation herself.

“To get there we must continue to engage with each other, we must continue to have difficult conversations,” he said.

In this July 2, 2020 photo released by the U.S. Attorney Office in Oregon and taken from security cameras, officers with the Federal Protective Service can be seen, top right, holding their shields up and guarding the doorway of the Hatfield Federal Courthouse after the glass door shattered. Federal authorities arrested seven people on federal charges ranging from damaging federal property to assaulting a federal officer after protesters targeted the courthouse during demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality. All seven protesters were released after a brief hearing Monday, July 6. (U.S. Attorney's Office District of Oregon via AP)