Police in the US city of Portland are investigating a disturbing viral video of a man who was brutally beaten in a busy downtown street amid ongoing protests and violence.
The man was left unconscious in the street after he crashed his truck during a confrontation that unfolded near a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Sunday night (local time).
Multiple videos show the driver being restrained and beaten by a group of people before one man, wearing a vest with the word “security” written on it, runs up from behind and kicks him in the face, reportedly leaving him unconscious. It’s believed his female partner watched on during the violent scene.
Another video shows the man bleeding from the back of the head following the attack as witnesses pull him off the road and help him.
“Officers responded and found an adult male who was unconscious with injuries. The victim was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and is recovering,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement Monday (local time).
“Portland Police became aware of video's circulating through social media, which show various events of what led up to an assault of the victim.
“The series of events was carried out in different locations involving many different people.”
Some videos appear to show the couple in the truck defending a woman who was being robbed before they were set upon by a group of people. It appears they later sped off, before crashing their vehicle.
“Investigators learned that the victim may have been trying to help a transgender female who had some of her things stolen in the area,” police said, and called for the woman to come forward to help the investigation.
Portland police officer shoots protester at close range with ‘less lethal’ impact munitions, then tries to club the protester with the butt of his rifle. Who do they protect? Who do they serve? #portlandprotests pic.twitter.com/8HHsW7BFRM— Peter (@gravemorgan) August 16, 2020
Jorge Ventura, a reporter with The Daily Caller, a conservative news site based in Washington DC, said the driver appeared intoxicated when he first got out of his car.
“He kind of seemed like he may have been drinking earlier in the evening,” he said, posting multiple videos of the incident. “He was really discombobulated.
“It was just totally brutal,” he said of the assault.
Multiple social media posts allege that someone had been driving erratically in downtown Portland and had tried to run over protesters several times, however those claims have not been verified by police.
The ugly incident has been seized on by right-wing media in the US and politicians trying to draw attention to the ongoing violence and unrest in the city.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz called the footage “GRAPHIC and disturbing” on Twitter this morning. “This is anarchy in the streets—multiple assaults, including what looks like attempted murder [with] a vicious kick to the head.”
Portland has seen more than 80 days of protest since the death of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic injustice.
While largely peaceful, the ongoing protests have involved clashes with federal security agents, nightly battles with police and skirmishes of violence and arson.
The street violence has seen a pattern of clashes and rising tensions between right and left wing groups in other cities as well, while US President Donald Trump has tried to style himself as a “law and order” leader in response to demonstrations.
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