Mob mentality on display.

Via Oregon Live:

A driver who pushed through a crowd of demonstrators in downtown Portland while they pounded on his sedan and yelled for him to stop says, contrary to their accusations, that he never tried to run them over.

But Kent Houser, 74, admits he was eager to bolt the chaotic scene.

“When you have an angry mob yelling at you and beating on your car you just want to get out of there,” he said Friday in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The incident, which unfolded Saturday during a march to protest a fatal police shooting the previous week, was relatively minor by Portland standards. It spawned no injuries, arrests or riots.

Police, who were nearby but mostly unseen, made no effort to intervene.

Yet within days, the encounter blossomed into a national news story.[…]

By Friday, Mayor Ted Wheeler was forced to wade into the fracas during a news conference. He came down on both sides.

First, he criticized the behavior of some of the protesters. He then defended the law enforcement agency he oversees against political attacks.

“I was appalled by what I saw in the video but I support the decision of the Portland Police Bureau not to intervene at that time,” he said. “This whole incident will be investigated.”[…]

A Southwest Portland resident, Houser said he was driving through downtown Saturday afternoon on the way to meet his wife on the city’s east side.

He had no idea that police the week before had shot and killed Patrick Kimmons, a 27-year-old black man, or that more than 100 people had taken to the streets over his death.

As he drove north along Southwest Fourth Avenue about 4 p.m., he saw a group of demonstrators marching down the street in his direction.

Two cars in front of him managed to turn right onto Southwest Salmon Street before the throng crowded the intersection and adjacent crosswalk. Houser said he tried to turn right as well, but couldn’t as the crowd was all around him.

“I saw them, they saw me, and they rushed my car,” Houser said. “Admittedly, I might have given them the one-finger salute when I rolled up.”

Video of the incident shows Houser’s silver Lexus slowly turn east onto Salmon as a handful of protesters trail alongside his car. Some can be heard yelling. Others appear to strike and hit his vehicle.

At one point, a masked demonstrator dressed in black throws his body onto the hood of the car as it inches down the block. The demonstrator eventually slides off to the side of the car and Houser hits the gas.

“If I was really interested in running someone over, I could have just gunned the engine and that guy would have been under my car,” he said. “He would have been toast.”

Houser speeds off down the block before stopping and getting out of his car. He then hops back in as some of the demonstrators run after him and catch up.

Several protesters can be seen attacking the car. One appears to strike Houser’s driver side window and panel as he zips off again.

“They beat the living daylights out of my automobile,” said Houser, adding that his window was shattered and that his car sustained thousands of dollars in damages.

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