Anarchy in Portland thanks to Democratic Mayor Wheeler

The Occupy ICE camp in Portland is a great example of what goes wrong when authorities let the anarchists have their way. I wrote about federal cops clearing out a portion of the protest on June 28th. I also wrote about the racist harassment of those officers by the protesters here. Earlier this week, Jazz covered the revelation that Portland police were ordered to stand down by the city’s Democratic Mayor, Ted Wheeler, preventing them from responding to 911 calls from frightened ICE employees who were trapped inside their offices. But it turns out local residents were also harassed, threatened, and assaulted by the Occupy ICE mob thanks in part to Mayor Wheeler giving them free rein. From the Wall Street Journal:

On June 28 federal police mobilized from out of state finally moved to reopen the office. They arrested a handful of people for refusing to leave the ICE office’s front, but the rest retreated to the camp and focused their vitriol on the officers. They repeatedly called a black officer “traitor” and “house n—.” They shouted that they knew where the officers lived, and published more addresses online.

The same day Mayor Wheeler again pledged not to intervene. In a statement, he whitewashed the lawless behavior: “I join those outraged by ICE actions separating parents from their children, and support peaceful protest to give voice to our collective moral conscience.”

The Hakes family, which owns the Happy Camper food cart across the street from ICE’s office, responded to the statement with incredulity. The mob “terrorized our family” and forced the business to close, Julie Hakes told me. Ms. Hakes showed me text messages from her 21-year-old daughter, Brianna, who ran the cart. “Just saw a drug deal,” Brianna reported early on. After members of the anti-ICE mob spotted her selling breakfast burritos to federal officers, the situation deteriorated. “Call me immediately!” Brianna wrote after being accused of “supporting the pigs” and “child deportation.” She said people wearing masks threatened to hurt her and burn down the cart, and the police never responded to their frantic calls.

Randy Glary, a 52-year-old artist and longtime resident, was photographing the camp when he said a group of occupiers knocked his camera into his face. Charles Williams, a 62-year-old man who lives across the street, said someone threatened to stab him with an “AIDS-infected needle.” From his balcony, he saw the “thugs” begin masked street patrols. Others brandished sticks. Lisa Leonard, a 53-year-old disabled resident, said occupiers hit her on her head, disabled her electric wheelchair, and lifted her in the air when she complained about loud drumming. She called police, who took a statement but made no arrests.

This is outrageous. The mayor can sympathize all he wants with the protesters but there’s no excuse for giving people who break the law and threaten city residents a pass. Brianna Hakes, the girl who ran the food cart, is reportedly moving out of the area in fear that the mob will return.

Eventually, sanity did prevail and the Occupy ICE camp was removed by Portland police on July 25th, but that only happened after Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw went to the Mayor and told him enough was enough:

The Portland Police Bureau determined last week that it was time to do something about the camp, Outlaw said. The bureau had received 76 calls for service to the camp, 41 of which required an officer response. There were also at least 13 online complaints about the conditions at the camp or behaviors of the campers…

When Outlaw brought her concerns to Mayor Ted Wheeler, he agreed it was time to evict the demonstrators.

“We knew we had to get ahead of it before it spiraled out of control,” Outlaw said while addressing the media.

According to Chief Outlaw (what a name for a police chief), the mayor fully supported her call to remove the camp. I suspect the actual meeting between the police chief and the mayor had a bit more heat than either party is letting on. In addition to the debate over the Occupy ICE camp, Mayor Wheeler was also harshly criticized by the President of the Portland Police Association for throwing police officers under the bus on dealing with the homeless. PPA President Daryl Turner put a statement on Facebook that opened: “Our City has become a cesspool.” That was about one week before the Mayor suddenly reversed himself on letting police clear out the Occupy ICE camp.

I don’t care where they work, police don’t like mobs being given a free pass in their city. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that, in reality, Chief Outlaw showed up at the mayor’s office with an ultimatum: Let me clear out this Occupy camp or else. I don’t actually know that’s the case but something abruptly snapped the mayor out of his reverie. Here’s a reminder of the giant mess the Occupy ICE campers left behind:

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