14 people released following peaceful Portland ICE protest

Memphis Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen goes up for a shot as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, left, and center Gorgui Dieng look on during an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Minneapolis. Grizzlies won 115-107. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
Memphis Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen goes up for a shot as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, left, and center Gorgui Dieng look on during an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Minneapolis. Grizzlies won 115-107. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
Published August 5
Updated December 3

Zia Laboff said she's lucky she went home Friday after she and more than a dozen protestors were arrested for blocking the driveway of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Southwest Portland office.

"Being in that space was impactful for us," Laboff, one of the protest's leaders, said.

Laboff and 13 others were released over the weekend. Most of the protestors were released Friday in front of the Portland Gus J. Solomon courthouse Friday with a citation for failure to comply with direction after they blocked the entrance to the ICE office at 4310 SW Macadam Ave., said Robert Sperling, a spokesman for the Federal Protective Service. Law enforcement officers warned protestors several times that they could be arrested for blocking access to federal property.

"We try to allow everyone the opportunity to express their freedom of speech and demonstrate," Sperling said. "The only thing we have to be aware of is blocking entrances and driveways."

Many of the 14 people arrested, women and college students from Portland State University, were picked up on the driveway in front of the federal building.

At least two people arrested were a part of Jewish Voice for Peace Portland, based at PSU. The protest, which brought together a crowd of about 60 protestors, was led by Jewish leaders and immigration rights activists.

Protestors demanded that elected officials close border detention centers, defund ICE and Customs and Border Protection and provide permanent protection for undocumented immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

This rally was part of the Never Again movement, a nationwide political action in which Jewish people protest against ICE raids and the treatment of migrants at detention facilities. Never Again protestors say they advocate to prevent events like the Holocaust from happening again.

The protest started at Poet's Beach Park, from which people marched down Southwest Moody Avenue. Laboff surprised protestors at the park by telling them they would march to the building.

Portland police said that at 1:56 p.m. Friday, officers responded to a report of a street march on Southwest Moody Avenue that blocked traffic, including a street car. When officers arrived, Federal Protective Services officers were already on scene.

There were seven Portland police officers and two sergeants on the scene. The agency did not make any arrests, but officers did provide a barrier between FPS officers and the crowd of protestors, Portland police said.

One person in an orange vest, who was livestreaming the protest next to the driveway, was put on the ground and arrested across the street from the building.

A video shows the person in the orange vest step onto the sidewalk when police approached. Several law enforcement officers then approached the person in the vest. Pepper-spray balls were shot, Sperling confirmed. Some of the protestors on the sidewalk darted into the road.

Laboff said the person in the vest was injured and told officers they needed medical treatment. Sperling said he didn't hear of any injuries. The Oregonian/OregonLive was not able to get in contact with the person Laboff said got hurt.

Laboff also said that she wasn't read her Miranda Rights when she was arrested. Sperling said he didn't know details.

Laboff said that she and other protestors didn't know what the results of the protest would be, but she said they wanted to stop ICE.

"We wanted to make sure it wasn't just an action where you show up and go home," she said. "We wanted to make sure we weren't doing this to pat ourselves on the back, we wanted to spread a poignant message."

-- Christina Morales; cmorales@oregonian.com; 503-221-5771; @Christina_M18

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