This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention but the nightly riots/unlawful assemblies in Portland are being driven by a hard core group of anarchists. That’s the conclusion of Sgt. Brent Maxey who has spent many nights facing off against the group over the past two months. He gave an exclusive interview to KGW last Thursday which was published yesterday.

The 18-year veteran of PPB, who spent 13 of those years on the bureau’s Rapid Response Team, sat down for an in-depth, one-on-one interview with KGW to give his take on the demonstrations.

Maxey said the demonstrations “started off as protests… but these have now devolved. They’ve been hijacked by anarchists, essentially. And they’ve just kind of devolved into these masses of people that are just bent on destruction and hurting, mainly hurting police or anybody that really disagrees with that message.”

In the full interview, which KGW posted on You Tube, Sgt. Maxey went on to say, “It’s a continuous cycle where this group hijacks whatever they really can…You know it might not have been called Antifa at the time but they did it with Occupy. They did it with the inauguration stuff in 2016. They do it with May Day every year. They tried to do it with the Women’s March but the Women’s March had enough people where they actually were able to push them out.

“These things that are happening, they’re not peaceful. The words that are out there are ‘These are peaceful protesters.’ They’re not.”

He pointed out that every night as the gatherings escalate to unlawful assemblies and then to riots the police give multiple warnings and time to allow any actual peaceful protesters to leave the area. The people who stay clearly aren’t interested in peace. “The people that choose to stay, in my view, are complicit in the overall action that’s happening,” Sgt. Maxey said. He added that it was often people in the back throwing things at officers while people in the front are shielding them from arrest.

“The truth is that these entire crowds that are left at the end of the night…in my observation, almost without exception, every single one of those people is involved in this criminal activity,” he said.

At this point the KGW reporter pushed back and argued that in some cases police have pushed back on people who were reporters. Sgt. Maxey admitted that sometimes people get caught in between the two groups but he added, “Not everybody who is out there wearing a press badge or has ‘press’ written across their helmet is press.” He said officers had seen the rioters handing out badges that said press. He said he had personally seen people with press written on their bodies throw objects at the police. He has also seen some of these self-identified people interfere with arrests.

Later the reporter asked about a recommendation by Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty that police not be sent to deal with protests at all. The idea behind this is that without police there the “peaceful protests” would never become riots. The reporter asked Sgt. Maxey what would happen if police were called off.

“I believe that we would have buildings on fire. I truly do,” Maxey replied. He continued, “The people that have been coming out to the justice center and to the police precincts, they want to abolish the police…They’re basically trying to bankrupt the Portland Police Bureau. I think if we didn’t respond to these things I think that we would have buildings on fire.”

As for what Sgt. Maxey sees as the solution to this ongoing situation, he says it has to be about conversations rather than screaming matches. He describes one incident where someone shouted something vulgar at him. He engaged the person and they wound up speaking for 90 minutes. He said that at the end they didn’t agree but they both shook hands and he felt like there was some mutual understanding. “All I see anymore is screaming. We go out and nobody is interested in a dialogue,” he said. He added, “If I do find somebody who wants to talk, other people come and shut them down.”

At this point I would just interject that there are reasons the woke won’t debate people, including the officers they are protesting. As James Lindsay put it, “Conversation and debate are part of our game, and they are not part of their game.” Their game, in the case of the Portland protests, is tactics of conflict and “direct action.” Conversation is counter to that goal.

Here’s the full interview with Sgt. Maxey. It’s more than an hour long but worthwhile. If you want to see the briefer (11-minute) version of this interview that ran on KGW it’s here.