A Minneapolis man has been charged with hurling baseball-size rocks at police officers in Portland, Ore., starting a fire and striking a police station with a hammer during civil unrest that has gripped the city since the death of George Floyd five months ago.
Adrian De Los Rios, 32, appeared in U.S. District Court in Portland last week, charged by a grand jury with civil disorder. De Los Rios pleaded not guilty to the felony count and was ordered released on his own recognizance pending his two-day jury trial scheduled to begin on Dec. 22.
De Los Rios on Monday declined to address the specifics of the allegations other than to say that the prosecution is trying to make an example of the protesters and that police were the aggressors while seeking to suppress his free-speech rights.
His Facebook page includes photos of him participating in downtown Minneapolis protests in June and July decrying police actions against people of color.
Portland has been the scene of sometimes violent and destructive protests and rioting since Floyd, who is Black, died pleading for air while pinned under Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's knee on May 25 at E. 38th Street and S. Chicago Avenue. Chauvin and three other officers involved have since been charged with multiple counts including murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. All four await trial.
According to court documents in the case against De Los Rios:
On the night of Aug. 5, protesters were blocking traffic outside the Portland Police Department's East Precinct, where people began tearing off the boards protecting the building's windows. An unlawful assembly was declared shortly before 10 p.m., and police over a loudspeaker ordered the crowd to disperse.
De Los Rios threw several chunks of concrete at the building's glass and struck the glass with a hammer. He also started a trash can on fire a foot from the front door, put a piece of lumber in the flames and leaned the can against the building. Video surveillance showed him placing a 2-by-4 through the exterior handles and ramming the doors with a 4-by-4 piece of lumber.
Later that night, officers saw De Los Rios throw "multiple baseball-size rocks" at police, a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office read. On one occasion, De Los Rios threw a rock at an officer while holding additional rocks in his opposite hand.
De Los Rios was arrested, and a search of his backpack turned up two rocks about the same size as the ones he was seen throwing. Seven other people also were arrested in connection with the assault on the police precinct, with four of them confirmed to be from the Portland area. Of the more than 90 people arrested on federal criminal charges during unrest in Portland, De Los Rios is one of 18 from out of state, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
While awaiting trial, De Los Rios' terms of release require, among other things, that he remain in Minnesota except to appear in court in Oregon.