Gov. Brown asked for help policing Portland, suburban sheriffs said no thanks

Gov. Brown asked for help policing Portland, suburban sheriffs said no thanks

Another riot was declared last night in Portland. Meanwhile, local sheriff’s have rejected a call for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown seeking reinforcements to assist police in Portland. Not surprisingly, no one wants the job under current conditions. We’ll get to that in a moment but first here’s what happened last night.

The rioters returned to a high-rise condo where Mayor Ted Wheeler owns property and set off fireworks next to the building. I’m sure Mayor Wheeler’s neighbors are thrilled.

After the fireworks ended, the group set a large fire in the street. Then a few people began breaking into the lobby of a business on the ground floor of the building by smashing the glass with bats:

Another angle:

The rioters eventually pulled furniture out of the lobby and added it to the fire in the street. At this point police declared an unlawful assembly and ordered people to disperse. Moments later the police observed someone toss a flaming object inside the looted office.

According to the Oregonian, “the 16-story building contains 114 residences.” Obviously if a fire started on a ground floor that would be potentially deadly for everyone living above. So once the fire was set inside the building, police declared a riot, put out the fire and demanded the crowd leave the area. Rocks and other objects were thrown at the police and 19 arrests were made.

In case it’s not clear, these are not protests that get out of hand. The violence and destruction is the point. As this kid said last night, “We’re done being peaceful. This is a revolution.”

Sunday, Gov. Kate Brown put out what she calls the “Unified Law Enforcement Plan” in response to the shooting Saturday. A key part of that plan was to ask suburban police forces to send additional officers to Portland to help deal with the riots and give exhausted Portland officers a break. So far three sheriffs have refused:

The sheriffs of Clackamas and Washington counties rejected a key component of Brown’s plan: They refused to send officers into Portland, saying they would not police protests in a county that won’t prosecute people who break the law.

Shortly after the two sheriffs refused Brown’s request, the Gresham police chief did the same, and the associations representing the state’s sheriffs and police chiefs also preemptively rejected the idea of policing Portland…

“Had Gov. Brown discussed her plan with my office, I would have told her it’s about changing policy, not adding resources,” Roberts said in a statement. “Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and, now, murder. The only way to make Portland safe again is to support a policy that holds offenders accountable for their destruction and violence.”

In addition, the Oregon Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police issued a joint statement about the request which was pretty blunt:

These are incredibly challenging times in Oregon and throughout our Country. Law Enforcement has clearly heard and recognizes the need to make improvements to ensure it is meeting the needs of all communities it serves. With that said, abandoning Law Enforcement or the need for policing, is not working. It has only shown that it undermines the rule of law and puts our community at greater risk.

Over the weekend, members of our associations were approached to assist with policing in the City of Portland. Unfortunately, due to the lack of support for public safety operations, the associated liability to agencies who would be assisting in Portland and the lack of accountability for those arrested committing criminal acts, we cannot dedicate our limited resources away from the communities we serve.

In short, no one wants to volunteer for abuse and potential injury when it’s clear the support for police from elected officials is minimal at best. The real question is why anyone would want this job. That lack of community support must be very clear to Mayor Ted Wheeler. Saturday progressive leaders in the city demanded his resignation:

“I don’t think we can see what happened last night in a vacuum or as an isolated incident,” Olivia Katbi-Smith, co-chair of the Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, said. “People are going to be killed on both sides of this because of the environment Ted Wheeler has been making in the city.”

The demand for Wheeler to resign was also echoed in a joint letter from the Oregon chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Oregon Justice Resource Center, the Portland Democratic Socialists of America NextUp Action Fund, Portland’s Resistance and Popular Mobilization PDX.

“What took place last night was inevitable given Mayor Wheeler’s repeated failure,” the letter said. “He has not protected or supported Portlanders. We do not have confidence in his ability to course-correct. He must resign.”

These groups are certainly justified in calling Mayor Wheeler a failure, but I doubt they are looking for a crackdown on nightly violence. What they want is to claim the scalp of someone who just recently turned on the rioters in a way that sounded somewhat serious.

Here’s my prediction: If Mayor Wheeler resigns, nothing will change. The mob claimed victory after federal police left the city last month. Since then the number of riots has increased to one almost every other night. If they force the mayor to resign they will claim victory and the riots will continue, targeting the police and anyone else who opposes them. At the moment, elected leaders in Oregon just aren’t willing to do what it takes to stop the revolution.

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