Portland Police have been ridiculed online for sharing more than one photo of a plastic bottle stuffed with a washcloth and calling it a “molotov cocktail.”
The most recently shared image (on the right above) seems to show no burn signs whatsoever, leading defense journalist Kelsey Atherton to call it a “molotov mocktail.”
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The bottle in the most recent image was found on Monday night at the Penumbra Kelly building by Portland Police officers after a group of protesters was seen marching there from Laurelhurst Park.
People in the group reportedly threw objects at the police, though no arrests were made at the scene and the group eventually left without having to be dispersed by the police.
“One of the items thrown was identified by the Explosive Disposal Unit and Arson investigators as a viable Molotov cocktail,” Portland Police claimed in the press release it shared on Twitter. “The wick was lit and the device was thrown onto the property. Fortunately, the fire was extinguished and no one was injured.”
The problem with the above statement is that Molotov cocktails are made out of three key components: glass, flammable liquid such as gasoline, and a fuse of some sort.
The glass part is essential. Glass shatters, and in doing so spreads the flaming liquid causing an explosion of fire. Throwing a plastic bottle full of burning fuel would basically be a dud – it would most likely just burn out on the spot it lands without doing much else.
Another image from this month shared by Portland police of a plastic ‘Molotov cocktail’ at least shows burn marks, though it begs the question, who’s really making these?
As Gizmodo writer Matt Novak states, the odd images seem to allow for two possibilities: “either protesters in Portland don’t know how to make a proper molotov cocktail or the Portland Police are faking the whole thing.”
Whichever one it is, people online are having a field day, such as one commenter who jokingly stated that the Portland Police department has just shown us the world’s first reusable Molotov cocktail.