Portland’s police chief has denounced rioters who broke windows and set fire to a business in the upscale apartment building where Mayor Ted Wheeler lives, labeling the events an escalation in the street violence that Oregon’s largest city has endured for months.
The demonstration began late Monday and stretched into the predawn hours of Tuesday, targeting the Democrat Wheeler, who is also police commissioner and has been criticized by left-wing extremists for heading up a police force that has repeatedly used tear gas against violent demonstrators.
The fire was set with a bundle of newspapers in a store housed on the ground floor of Wheeler’s building.
Earlier tonight: Antifa set fires in the building where Mayor Ted Wheeler supposedly lives, prompting police to declare a riot and disburse the crowd to allow firefighters at the scene. pic.twitter.com/OfASXps04p
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) September 1, 2020
Earlier in the night in Portland, antifa rioters calmly smashed up a random business to protest police & @tedwheeler. They stole furniture from inside to use as tinder for their fire. They then set the office’s lobby on fire. #PortlandsRiots pic.twitter.com/b7rNvAEqNn
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) September 1, 2020
Demonstrators also shot off fireworks that hit the building.
Antifa is currently trying to burn down Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s apartment building. pic.twitter.com/aDAOtA8ovu
— Tara LaRosa (@TaraLaRosa) September 1, 2020
There were no reports of major damage or injuries.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement that the demonstrators targeted innocent people who live in Wheeler’s building.
“The families that live inside have done absolutely nothing to provoke a threat to their lives,” Lovell said.
“As I’ve stated repeatedly, the nightly violence is coming at increased cost,” he said. “Gun violence is skyrocketing. Emergency calls for service are not being answered. This is impacting the safety of our entire city and urgent action is needed.
“Our elected officials need to do their part to draw a line in the sand and to hold people accountable. The violent behavior must end.”
Portland has endured nearly 100 days of nightly unrest following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, including two weeks in July when large groups of demonstrators attacked the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse and the U.S. agents sent to protect the building.
A supporter of President Donald Trump was shot and killed Saturday amid clashes between Black Lives Matter radicals and members of Patriot Prayer, a pro-First and Second Amendment group. A caravan of Trump supporters, estimated at about 600 cars, encountered the left-wing demonstrators as it drove through the downtown.
Police have not announced an arrest in the slaying of Aaron J. Danielson, 39, of Portland.
Wheeler said on his Facebook page that the vandalism hurt a minority-owned business.
“Arson and terrorizing families with children does nothing except steal, and distract from, the important message of the racial justice movement. Organizations in the community who encouraged or condoned these actions are complicit,” he said.
Wheeler added: “The community must rise up and say ‘enough is enough’ and hold all of us accountable. We cannot truly move on together and make the positive changes we want to see until this violence is stopped. All violence.”
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