Navy vet beaten, pepper-sprayed by agents deployed by Trump in Portland

Navy vet beaten, pepper-sprayed by agents deployed by Trump in Portland

By
Andrew Selsky
The Associated Press

Posted July 21, 2020 8:58 am

 
 

Updated July 21, 2020 11:38 am

0:54
US Navy veteran reported injured after repeated baton strikes at Portland rally

ABOVE: US Navy veteran reported injured after repeated baton strikes at Portland rally.


  • comments

    Leave a comment


  • whatsapp

    Share this item via WhatsApp


  • more

    Share this item


  • more

    Share this item

Smaller font
Descrease article font size
-A

Larger font
Increase article font size
A+



  • Share this item via WhatsApp

    whatsapp



  • Share this item on Pinterest

    pinterest



  • Share this item on LinkedIn

    linkedin



  • Share this item on Reddit

    reddit



  • Copy article link

    Copy link

The Navy veteran stands passively in Portland, Oregon, amid swirling tear gas. One of the militarized federal agents deployed by U.S. President Donald Trump swings a baton at him with full force. With both hands. Five times.

Under the assault, 53-year-old Christopher David seems like a redwood tree — impervious to the blows. But in a video shot by a reporter, another officer — wearing green military camouflage, a helmet and gas mask — sprays David full in the face with what appears to be pepper gas.

Read more:
Oregon attorney general looking to stop federal agents from arresting Portland protesters

Video of the Saturday night incident has gone viral. Accounts of it have been reported by news outlets in the United States and around the world.

Today, David, who suffered two broken bones in his hand, finds himself a reluctant symbol of the protests taking place in Oregon’s largest city and the federal response to it. Militarized officers from a handful of agencies have been using tear gas, flash-bangs, pepper spray, “less-lethal” impact weapons and other munitions to disperse crowds.

Story continues below advertisement

4:00
Portland protests: Federal agents fire tear gas as hundreds protest outside US courthouse

Portland protests: Federal agents fire tear gas as hundreds protest outside US courthouse

“It isn’t about me getting beat up. It’s about focusing back on the original intention of all of these protests, which is Black Lives Matter,” David said in a phone interview Monday with The Associated Press.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has deployed officers to Portland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident that David recounted. DHS said in a statement about Saturday night’s events that some of the protesters were “violent anarchists” who had launched objects at federal officers, including fireworks and bags of paint, and tried to barricade officers inside the federal building.

1:24
Portland protests: Police union building set on fire, riot declared

Portland protests: Police union building set on fire, riot declared

Some vandalism, including graffiti, has occurred in the Portland protests, now in their 53rd day, and federal officials say they’ve responded to protect property and help restore order. One protester was arrested after allegedly assaulting a federal officer with a hammer.

Trending Stories

  • Quebec manhunt ends after police discover body believed to be Martin Carpentier

  • CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos dropping ‘Eskimo’ from team name

Story continues below advertisement

But people peacefully protesting police brutality and racism, including a county commissioner and religious clerics, have been subjected to riot-control munitions. One demonstrator was hit in the head by an impact munition, shattering bones in his face and head. Some were snatched off the streets by the federal officers and stuffed into unmarked vehicles.

David, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Navy veteran, was so disturbed by what he’d heard that he came to a protest site outside the federal building in downtown Portland on Saturday night.

Read more:
Portland mayor says he wants federal officers to leave the city

He put on a sweatshirt with “Navy” emblazoned across the chest and a Navy ballcap, figuring the federal officers would be, like him, a military veteran. He figured they’d listen as he reminded them “that you take the oath to the Constitution; you don’t take the oath to a particular person.”

“What they were doing was unconstitutional,” David said. ”Sometimes I worry that people take the oath of office or the oath to the Constitution, and it’s just a set of words that mean nothing. They really don’t feel in their heart the weight of those words.”

There was no talking. The federal officers, in full tactical gear, came charging out of the federal building.

“They came out in this phalanx, running, and then they plowed into a bunch of protesters in the intersection of the street and knocked them over. They came out to fight,” David said. One officer pointed a semi-automatic weapon at David’s chest, he said, and video shows another shoving him backwards as he tried to talk with the officers.

Story continues below advertisement

3:46
Trump plans to send federal law enforcement to Democratic-led U.S. cities amid protest crackdown

Trump plans to send federal law enforcement to Democratic-led U.S. cities amid protest crackdown

“I took a couple steps back, straightened up, and then just stood my ground right there, arms down by my side,” David recalled.

One officer began whacking at David with the baton. When he doesn’t fall or even flinch, another officer sprays him full in the face. David then retreats a few steps while making an obscene gesture.

“They are thugs and goons,” David said. “I couldn’t recognize anything tactically that they were attempting to do that was even remotely related to crowd control. It looked to me like a gang of guys with sticks.”

This undated photo provided by Christopher David, shows Christopher David, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Navy veteran. David was beaten Saturday, July 17, 2020, with a wooden baton and pepper-sprayed in the face by authorities during ongoing protests in Portland, Ore.

Christopher David via AP

David will need reconstructive surgery with pins and plates on his ring finger that was shattered. A bone in his hand was also broken.

Story continues below advertisement

He’s not going back out to protest.

“My ex-wife and my daughter would kill me if I did that. They’re so angry at me for doing it in the first place because I got beat up,” he said. “I’m not a redwood tree. I’m an overweight, 53-year-old man.”

 

© 2020 The Canadian Press




JOURNALISTIC STANDARDS

Leave a comment

Comments

PortlandPortland PolicePortland protestwhat is happening in PortlandChristopher Davidnavy vet portlandnavy veteran portlandportland arrestsportland secret police

Leave a comment

Comments

More from Global News

  • News anchor’s tooth falls out mid-broadcast, but she keeps going like nothing happened

  • ‘Darth Vader’ claims $95M lotto jackpot after being Forced to show up

Advertisement

Tagged , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *