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Mayor Wheeler: Portland is sick and tired of 'criminal destruction and violence'

Last week there were a couple of nights in a row of destructive protests in Portland. Monday, Mayor Ted Wheeler and other city officials gathered to condemn the anarchist groups that routinely vandalize and destroy property in the city. We’ve heard this kind of language from Wheeler before but it’s still something of a surprise.

“The community is sick and tired of people engaging in criminal destruction and violence and doing it under the guise of some noble cause,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said during a news conference…

“The misguided and miseducated anarchists reject civility and instead intentionally create mayhem through criminally destructive behavior tearing up our city. This must stop,” said former state Sen. Avel Gordly, the first Black woman to be elected to the Oregon State Senate. “I say to them today, ‘Stop you are not helping, you are hurting Black people.’”

KOIN 6 has more on the anti-Antifa press conference:

“As Multnomah County Sheriff I support calls by Mayor Wheeler and other leaders – the violence must end,” Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said.

Responding to these events pulls away from public safety, Reese said.

“We continue to support Portland Police Bureau and other law enforcement partners to respond to these acts of violence,” Reese said.

“They’re not going to get away with it,” Wheeler said. He said he has tried to organize meetings with some of the groups but they have refused.

It’s a fair amount of tough talk, but we have heard some of this before. The one thing that did change last week is that on the 2nd night of mayhem, police used a kettling tactic to surround and individually photograph everyone who was part of the Antifa march that night. It put an end to the destruction and it led to 13 arrests. Wheeler approved of it and defended it after the fact. Naturally, left wing groups are crying foul.

Members of the Oregon Justice Resource Center, CAIR-Oregon and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon are calling for an investigation into Portland Police Bureau’s use of a “kettling” tactic.

In a group statement, the groups described kettling as an “aggressive and indiscriminate police tactic.”

This is complete nonsense. When Antifa gather for a march and almost immediately begin smashing windows and vandalizing property, they are all consciously and intentionally part of that action. Some are swinging the hammers and others are acting as accomplices by providing a uniformly dressed crowd to blend into. It’s what they signed up for when they gathered in the first place. Everyone present knows destruction is part of the purpose of the gathering.

So does this presser Monday mean that Wheeler is really going to continue to crack down on the group? Maybe.

KGW News reports that while Wheeler is once again talking tough, the ultimate goal of this exercise is to convince people in Portland to back a tougher response to the anarchists. Because if the public won’t support efforts as slight as kettling then there’s not a whole lot the city can do. It remains to be seen whether or not enough Portlanders really are sick and tired of this crap.