Police say protester in Portland threatening man with gun

Portland police say a 33-year-old man who was participating in a protest against police brutality on Monday displayed a handgun in a threatening manner following a confrontation with a passing motorcyclist.

Rocco Wong faces one count of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and was taken into custody after 7 p.m.

Police say Wong was with a group of people who were returning to City Hall from the Portland Police Station on Middle Street when Wong and the group of about 10 people encircled a motorcyclist stopped at the stop sign at Pearl Street.

Police say the motorcyclist felt threatened by their actions, and when he got off the bike, a person encircling him lifted his shirt to show a handgun and made several threatening statements. The group then returned to City Hall plaza where they continued to protest.

The 50-year-old motorcyclist, of South Portland, met with police and identified Wong as the man who threatened him. Police say they waited for Wong to separate from the group he was with and arrested him without incident. Officers seized a handgun from Wong, police said.

Wong was booked at the Cumberland County Jail and released on $250 bail.

Police Chief Frank Clark cautioned demonstrators last week to leave their firearms at home after detractors made threats against the Black Lives Matter protesters in messages on Facebook, and suggested in comments online that they planned to counter-protest and to come armed.

There were no arrests at a Saturday demonstration organized by Black Lives Matter Maine, which also drew counter-protesters. A second demonstration on Sunday also did not generate any arrests, said police spokesman Lt. Robert Martin.

Black Lives Matter Maine say they support only peaceful demonstrations, and have condemned violence in statements made on social media.

“Emotionally charged events, such as can be the case with some protests, can lead to poor decision-making, which does not mix well with firearms or other weapons,” Clark said in a statement Tuesday. “That can put the public and my officers at risk.”

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