The past three weeks of nightly demonstrations held in downtown Portland have typically ended in pandemonium and panic, spurred by armored officers using "less-lethal" munitions and batons to forcefully disperse the group of protesters—arresting several in the process. Last night, one man's arrest added another layer of anxiety to the nightly mayhem.
Videos taken shortly after midnight capture what looks like an unconscious body laying on the ground, surrounded by Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers and medics with Portland Fire and Rescue (PFR), who regularly offer emergency medical support during protests. "He's fully limp," says Cory Elia, a KBOO reporter, speaking into his cell phone as he recorded the moment last night. Officers eventually load the man into an ambulance, and it drives off. Here's a clip from Elia's video:
CW: harm, injury, potentially worse.— bog witch (she/her) (@bogwitchenergy) June 22, 2020
Anyone know what happened to this individual? @PortlandPolice we need to know if they are ok. @TheRealCoryElia captured this video of them unconscious and unresponsive, possibly having a seizure on the stretcher. #defendpdx #portlandprotest pic.twitter.com/VjXeB0RBA0
By mid-morning Monday, the video had been shared widely across social media in hopes of identifying the man and finding out what had happened to him. Some shared a video where, because of the camera angle, it appeared an officer was kneeling on the man's neck—not unlike the maneuver that former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin used to kill George Floyd.
By late afternoon, the story had come more into focus. Several sources who asked to remain anonymous identified the man as Derik Morganstern, a 31-year-old man who had started participating in Portland protests last week. Morganstern was arrested early this morning for interfering with an officer, during which PPB discovered there was a felony warrant out for his arrest in Marion County.
During this encounter, however, Morganstern "dropped to ground and witnesses observed him having what looked like a seizure," according to PFR spokesperson Rich Chatman.
Chatman said that, at the time, PFR medics concluded that his health was not in critical danger. However, medics called an ambulance to the scene to have Morganstern fully evaluated at a hospital. "Once he arrived at the hospital, medical staff confirmed that his medical condition was not critical," Chatman said.
Other sources close to Morganstern confirm that his health is stable.
According to the Multnomah County's online inmate roster, Morganstern was booked in the county jail just before 4 am today. He is currently being held on a $5,000 bail and will likely be transferred back to Marion County to face trial. A Marion County judge had issued a warrant for Morganstern in August 2019, after Morganstern did not return to a minimum-security "transition center"—an alternative to jail—after a medical appointment. Morganstern was serving time for a 2016 domestic violence assault charge.