The attempt to burn Shemali’s business came after protests were held outside the Pearl District apartment building, where his clinic was located. Incidentally, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also lived in the same building. The protest, which called for Wheeler’s resignation as mayor, happened to be on his birthday.
However, the mood changed when some protesters broke glass panels at the apartment and entered the building. Pearl District Dental at the ground floor ended up being the first target, with video footage showing several people using baseball bats to smash glass windows and a door to enter the clinic.
Police responded to the rioting at the apartment complex alongside a number of other protesters trying to quell the unrest. Officers then declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and told people to go home. One of the protesters threw a burning item inside the clinic through a broken window, and police then declared a riot. Dispersals then commenced, with law enforcement officers making some arrests and using rubber bullets. The crowd dissipated by 2 a.m. of Sep. 1, leaving a trail of broken glass.
Shemali said the damage ended up being relatively minor – thanks to the more level-headed protesters and police. He added that if not for the two groups, a major disaster would have happened that night. The business reopened on Sep. 2 after repairs.
Two people were responsible for the damage, according to information Shemali received. The clinic manager has expressed his intention to press charges with the district attorney. “We’ve been told that people committed multiple similar acts in the past and had not been prosecuted. There’s no place for arson in our society,” he said.
Pearl District Dental was not the only business affected by the nightly rioting in the city.
Fabian Gordon, a business owner and local resident, told NTD Television that he was “upset” and “unhappy” with the destruction happening in Portland. He also expressed concern about the city’s fate, asking “when all this dies out, what’s left?”
Gordon mentioned that he knew some business owners who were “terrified” of the mob reaching their business’ doorsteps and setting them on fire. “They’re all very afraid,” he added.
Steepologie Teas co-owner Joe Raetzer told The Epoch Times that they originally planned to open two stores in the city, but backed out due to the unrest. The business also shut down its Seattle location due to rioting, with an employee being assaulted inside the store premises.
Unlike other businesses, however, Shemali has said that he will not be relocating the clinic. He cited the business’ good reputation in the community and the clients preferring the location, preferring to “ride out the storm.”
Portland has become an epicenter of recent unrest after Black Lives Matter protests in the city, triggered by the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. The protests have also caused a number of violent incidents in the city such as Adam Haner’s assault at the hands of Marquise Love and the murder of Aaron Danielson by antifa member Michael Reinoehl.
This recent instance of rioting adds to the list of frustrations for people who live in the area. Tom Drewes, a Pearl District apartment resident, expressed that the Aug. 31 chaos no longer had anything to do with Black Lives Matter. He added that the movement’s message has been co-opted by people with a totally different agenda.
Seneca Cayson, a Black Lives Matter organizer, shared the same sentiments as Drewes. Cayson likewise felt frustrated after seeing the events at the mayor’s apartment on a livestream – a far cry from the peaceful protest he led on the same day as the riots. He felt that the political sides taking shots at each other have taken over the protests – at the expense of other black people and the social justice movement at large.
Shemali had a message for the protesters: "You seem to have lost your focus … Even if an official wanted to talk to you, your message is confusing. I would say unify and get a message and focus on the things you want changed."
Find out more about the latest riots caused by leftist insanity at Rioting.news.