Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler (D), in advance of planned protests and counterprotests likely to result in violence, warned “extremists from across the political spectrum” to stay out of the city or be prepared to be met with law enforcement resistance.
Wheeler, who has been under fire in the past for not doing enough to control the spread of Antifa in Portland, promised in a video that police would not stand by idly if Antifa or any other group broke the law.
“Hear me when I say this,” Wheeler said. “To those people planning to come and inflict violence in our city, we don’t want you here. This is why I’ve directed and empowered the Portland Police Bureau to use whatever means necessary, and to amass whatever resources necessary to ensure public safety and to uphold the law.”
Multiple demonstrations are reportedly planned on Aug. 17.
Wheeler’s crackdown might be viewed as being too little, too late, as Portland Police (of which Wheeler is also the commissioner) don’t often arrest Antifa members despite violent clashes involving the group becoming a regular occurrence over the past few years.
Police union president Daryl Turner called Wheeler out in July for preventing police from controlling the violence.
“It’s time for our Mayor to do two things,” Turner wrote in an open letter to Wheeler. “Tell both ANTIFA and Proud Boys that our City will not accept violence in our City and remove the handcuffs from our officers and let them stop the violence through strong and swift enforcement action. Enough is enough.”
Wheeler has also not supported anti-mask laws that would hinder Antifa from being able to commit acts of violence anonymously in the streets. After journalist Andy Ngo was attacked in public while reporting on a demonstration, the mayor did not condemn the group by name.
Wheeler has not released a specific plan for the upcoming demonstrations, but did suggest that they may seek to coordinate with the state National Guard for assistance.