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Police shoot Portland protester in head with impact weapon, causing severe injuries

  • Author: Ryan Nguyen, The Oregonian
  • Updated: July 13, 2020
  • Published July 13, 2020

PORTLAND, Oregon -- Videos posted to social media appear to show a police officer shooting a protester in the head with an impact munition outside of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland on Saturday. Friends and family told OPB News the man suffered skull fractures and required surgery.

One video shows the protester holding a speaker while standing across the street from the courthouse between two parked cars. Police, who appear to be federal officers, throw a canister that lands at his feet, which he lightly tosses away from him.

A firing sound can be heard, and the man collapses to the ground, dropping the speaker. The video shows no sign of aggressive provocation on the part of the protester, who appeared to be standing alone between two parked cars across the street from the federal courthouse.

Family and friends told OPB the protester in the video is 26-year-old Donovan LaBella.

WARNING: This video contains graphic violence and language that some might find offensive.

Another video, which contains graphic imagery and language, tweeted by independent journalist Garrison Davis shortly before 10 p.m. reportedly shows the aftermath.

The protester is bleeding on the sidewalk and appears to be unconscious after being shot with “what appears to be an impact munition” in the face. Several protesters rush to check on him and carry him away, revealing the splatters of blood on the sidewalk. The officers are standing across the street and are not reacting.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Federal Protective Service charged with security for federal property, and the Portland Police Bureau did not immediately respond to requests to comment.

OPB reports that his face and skull were fractured and that he finished facial reconstructive surgery early Sunday morning.

“He still has a tube in his skull to drain the blood,” Desiree LaBella, Donovan’s mother, told The Oregonian/OregonLive. She added that he needs neurological checks every hour and is showing signs of confusion.

Saturday night protests in Portland became tense after 9 p.m., about an hour before the incident shown in the video. Officers also used crowd control munitions such as tear gas to scatter protestors.

Federal officers also chased a demonstrator who was drawing on the sidewalk with chalk outside the federal courthouse.