Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, who is also the city’s police commissioner, has bent over backward to protect Antifa from the police this year. But in the wake of a violent attack against reporter Andy Ngo Wheeler seems to be changing his tune. Another weekend confrontation between the left and right is currently planned for next weekend. In anticipation, Wheeler released a video clip in which he personally warns that anyone who becomes violent will face arrest and legal consequences.
In a video message posted to YouTube on Wednesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said “extremists from across the political spectrum” have used the city to “commit acts of violence while spreading their messages.” Wheelers said officials have learned that groups plan on doing the same thing on Aug. 17, to spread hateful messages in addition to coming “with the explicit intent to commit violence.”
“Hear me when I say this: To those people planning to come and inflict violence in our city, we don’t want you here,” the mayor said.
Wheeler said he has directed the Portland police to “use whatever means necessary” and “amass whatever resources necessary” in order to ensure public safety and uphold the law. While he did not disclose specific plans, the mayor said the city is working with regional partners “make sure those who break the law are held accountable” in addition to having additional resources and coordination.
This follows a press release by the Portland PD last week which highlighted the possibility of violence breaking out next weekend between “groups with differing ideologies.” Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said, “There is concern about the criminal intentions being expressed in the publically available forums which suggest some attendees plan to engage in violence. We are taking this into account and developing an appropriate plan with adequate resources to prepare for this eventuality.”
If Portland PD really does prepare for violence, that will be an improvement. When reporter Andy Ngo was beaten in the middle of the street he was within sight of the city’s justice center and yet no police intervened to help. Portland police have told Ngo in the past that they will not intervene in any situation where they are outnumbered by masked Antifa. Since Antifa in Portland regularly has several hundred people at these events, the result is the police rarely intervene.
Part of this problem is undeniably Mayor Wheeler’s fault. He allowed Antifa set up a protest camp in the doorway of an ICE facility and then allegedly told police not to respond to 911 calls from people trapped inside the building. Even after the recent attack on Andy Ngo, Mayor Wheeler condemned the violence but never bothered to name the group responsible for it, i.e. Antifa.
If the Mayor wanted to get serious about preventing violence and holding troublemakers accountable, he would ensure that Antifa not be allowed to wear masks on the city’s streets. Last month, Police Chief Outlaw called for anti-mask laws but a spokesman for Mayor Wheeler told the Daily Caller the Mayor wanted, “to weigh his options thoroughly and hear concerns from community leaders before making a decision.” In other words, he’s not willing to take a stand against the Oregon ACLU which is firmly against anti-mask laws.
It’s obvious how this works. If violent people can’t be identified, they can’t be arrested or charged. Antifa knows that, which is why they wear the masks in the first place. So here you have the Mayor vowing in this video to get tough on violence, but he’s not willing to commit to the one change that might actually keep Antifa members from getting violent in the first place.