Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has a problem with the riots in his city. He’s just not going to do anything about it but chastise those doing the rioting.
Wheeler, whose building was a target of rioters earlier this week, has made a big deal of refusing federal help from Donald Trump, upbraiding the president in an open letter for even bothering to offer.
However, the Democratic mayor wants everyone to also know that rioters in his city are “terrorizing families with children,” and he would kindly like them to stop.
That statement decrying rioters conveniently appeared on his Facebook page after they attempted to set his condominium building ablaze Monday night.
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive:
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
After this, Mayor Wheeler made it clear that this sort of behavior was unacceptable.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Wheeler wrote that “last night saw more senseless violence in Portland. Another minority-owned, local business was destroyed by a violent group of individuals. A police officer was filmed repeatedly striking an individual at a protest. Even the building where I live, along with dozens of other families, was violently attacked.
“These acts range from stupid, to dangerous, to criminal. The violence must stop. None of this should sit well with any thinking Portlander. Arson and terrorizing families with children does nothing except steal, and distract from, the important message of the racial justice movement.”
It’s unclear who was “terrorizing families with children,” although he could have, presumably, been referring to the families in his condo complex.
“Organizations in the community who encouraged or condoned these actions are complicit. Elected leaders — or those seeking office — who remain silent in the midst of these acts of violence and criminal destruction are equally complicit,” he continued.
“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.”
One could indeed think of a way that could happen. Unfortunately, Wheeler’s already closed it off.
A few days before this Facebook screed was posted, Wheeler wrote his poison-pen open letter to Trump, in which the mayor pointedly told the federal government to “[s]tay away, please.”
“There is no place for looting, arson, or vandalism in our city,” Wheeler wrote Aug. 28.
“There is no room here for racist violence or those who wish to bring their ideology of hate into our community. Those who commit criminal acts will be apprehended and prosecuted under the law.”
Since then, what’s happened?
On Saturday, the day after Wheeler wrote that letter, a member of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer was shot dead during protests.
Later Tuesday, we had this Facebook post. Moreover, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell warned that the protests were coming “at increased cost” and that the attack was a sign rioters were becoming more brazen. While serious property damage had previously been aimed at courthouses and police facilities, this targeted a residential building.
“The families that live inside have done absolutely nothing to provoke a threat to their lives. As I’ve stated repeatedly, the nightly violence is coming at increased cost,” Lovell said.
“This is impacting the safety of our entire city and urgent action is needed.”
“I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that,” Reinoehl told Donovan Farley, a longtime left-wing chronicler of the antifa movement in the Pacific Northwest.
The same day, according to The New York Times, authorities issued an arrest warrant for Reinoehl. He died Thursday while law enforcement agents were trying to take him into custody.
“Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers,” a statement from the Marshals Service read. “Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Also this week, Wheeler reportedly said he would be moving out of his building. According to The Oregonian, he told residents it might be “best for me and for everyone else’s safety and peace” if he left.
In his Facebook statement, Wheeler closed by making one thing clear: “If you are participating in violence, I want to be clear: I denounce your actions. State and local law enforcement is working together to hold you accountable. Your actions demonstrate a level of hate and destruction that we WILL NOT condone or tolerate.”
Wheeler is the mayor of the city. He’s also, under Portland’s commission form of government, the commissioner of the police department.
If the tools are at the disposal, he needs to use them or else he’s tacitly condoning and tolerating those actions.
If not, he needs to ask for help.
If the only potential place to turn federal government, then he owes it to his constituents to make that happen.
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