Three Portland police officers were injured Sunday night during a struggle with a man who became violent after they confiscated his gun, police said Monday.

The struggle attracted a group of onlookers who became hostile to the officers, police said. A dozen or so people taunted and cursed at the officers and one 17-year-old bystander was arrested after throwing an object at a police cruiser and shoving an officer, police said.

The incident happened less than a block off Congress Street in Portland’s downtown about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The three officers involved in the struggle were treated and released from Mercy Hospital, police said.

It comes one week after the police department said officers responded to a large crowd of people setting off illegal fireworks in the East Bayside neighborhood. Some in the crowd aimed projectile fireworks at the officers, police said. That incident remains under investigation. Police also continue to investigate reports of gunfire in East Bayside later that night.

Those events are not related to the incident downtown on Sunday night, police spokesman David Singer said. However, he characterized the repeated instances of crowds provoking, and in some cases assaulting, police officers as concerning.

On Sunday, Portland police responded to a reported disturbance near the block of 25 Preble St. While talking to witnesses, they noticed a man sitting in a doorway with a handgun in his waistband, police said. After confirming that he was a convicted felon who is not allowed to possess a firearm, the officers took away the gun. The suspect then punched, kicked and scratched the officers and tried to take their guns away, police said.

Officers arrested Frederick Archer, 21. He was charged with assaulting officers, refusing to submit to arrest and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He had been convicted of burglary in June 2020, according to a criminal records review.

An attempt to reach Archer at the Cumberland County Jail was not successful Monday.

Police also arrested an unidentified 17-year-old boy who was in the group of onlookers and is accused of throwing an object at a police cruiser and shoving an officer. The 17-year-old was charged with assault and disorderly conduct and was released to the custody of a parent.

Singer did not respond Monday to a request for access to video footage of the incident Sunday.

Portland Mayor Kate Snyder harshly criticized any form of violence against law enforcement in a news release from the city.

“… Violence aimed at those who are on the front line ensuring all of our safety is reprehensible,” Snyder said. “Members of the Portland Police Department deserve our support and respect. They have mine.”

The sentiment was echoed by City Manager Jon Jennings.

“The attacks on our police officers are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Jennings said. “We have one of the best police departments in the entire country and they deserve this community’s respect.

In a written statement, Portland Chief of Police Frank Clark asked for a heightened level of courtesy in the public’s interactions with police officers and condemned violent or aggressive acts against police officers.

“I am asking those hiding in the shadows to cease the random, cowardly and unwarranted violence against our police officers,” Clark said. “Portland is better than that.”

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