CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Commissioner Mingus Mapps supported the advice of Mayor Ted Wheeler and Acting Police Chief Chris Davis that citizens write down the license plates of demonstrators wearing black attire. A representative for Commissioner Mapps stated he does not endorse such actions, nor has he been asked to comment on or endorse the mayor’s statements at the news conference. The Skanner regrets this error.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland’s mayor and acting police chief are urging the public to safely stand up to the black bloc group of demonstrators who continue to plan “direct actions” around the city that routinely end with broken windows, fires and other vandalism.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Acting Police Chief Chris Davis urged members of the public to write down the license plates of the demonstrators who frequently wear all black attire designed to make it difficult to recognize individuals and to report anyone who is overheard bragging about committing violence.
Don't Shoot Portland Criticizes Mayor
The Don't Shoot Portland group released the following statement criticizing the mayor.
"On April 22nd, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler made a dangerous call to action to turn community members into vigilantes to defend property and ‘take back our city’.
Immediately, Donald Trump’s call to patriot viligantes to defend their cities across the nation came to mind. Kyle Rittenhouse, Dylann Roof and so many other privileged white supremacists that have used violence to reclaim their heritage, confidence and values.
In Oregon, the rhetoric used against protestors and community organizers showing up against police brutality has been eerily similar to the views expressed by these killers.
The law and order directives perpetrated by Donald Trump are making a comeback in the form of Ted Wheeler’s instructions to target ‘anarchist protestors’.
This urging to police your neighbors does not come from a place of commitment to our city, rather it is another brutal tactic of state sanctioned violence.
This past summer thousands of people were harmed by the actions of mayor Ted Wheeler and his lack of leadership. The lack of effort and engagement on issues of race and equity are further complicated by his use of force as police commissioner.
Wheeler speaks repeatedly of ‘self described anarchists wanting to burn and bash’ and how ‘these people don’t want Portland to open back up’.
His officers just shot and killed a man in our community last week – His name was Robert Delgado. Where was the call to action for his life that was stolen by the city of Portland, or the countless others who have been murdered and without justice in the last year alone?
This ongoing terror has caused irreparable health and safety issues for so many vulnerable people.
In a state that was founded on exclusionary laws as a white utopia, there are generations of white supremacy at the very core of Portland culture.
Yet you are enacting these calls of violence to the descendants of those families. Portland, Oregon has its own share of Kyle Rittenhouses and Dylann Roofs who are waiting for this call from a higher authority.
In a city that already harasses and racially profiles its minority communities, Ted Wheeler has exacerbated this with the explicit statements made at his recent press conference.
Demand that the Governor step in. Demand that responsible leaders speak up against this blatant disregard for the people of Portland.
When Wheeler attempts to put communities against one another, his actions are vile, corrupt and indignant at a time that we’re all witnessing social change in America. Speak up and speak out.
Both said Friday they believe residents are tired of seeing the threats and destruction by a small group of “self-described anarchists,” The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
“They want to bash, like they did to the nonprofit Boys and Girls Club in Northeast," Mayor Wheeler said.
“Really they want to intimidate. If BLM leaders can show the courage to stand up to this mob, then we all should. ... Make a stand and take our city back."
On Friday night police arrested two people after a group of people marched through a Portland neighborhood, with some blocking streets, breaking windows at some businesses and spraying graffiti.
The Portland Police Department released a statement early Saturday morning saying the demonstration had been declared a riot.
The police statement said about 75 people began marching in the streets at about 9:15 p.m., and the department received reports of broken windows and graffiti a short time later. Two people were arrested on suspicion of criminal mischief.
Wheeler asked residents to share with police the license plates of people who drive to the events in different neighborhoods and then dress in black clothing and grab shields or weapons from their cars.
And if people overhear others bragging about the violence they committed in the city, report it, he said.
“Our job is to unmask them, arrest them and prosecute them,” he said.
On Monday night, a group gathered in Northeast Portland and some smashed windows at the Blazers Boys & Girls Club, causing nearly $20,000 in damage.
A week ago, a large demonstration downtown became a riot that left windows of the First Christian Church broken, anti-police messages scrawled on the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and windows shattered at the Oregon Historical Society.
Wheeler said he was extending a state of emergency in the city and directed the Police Bureau to arrest people engaged in any crimes if they can do so safely to prevent and limit destruction. He said he supported police using the controversial “kettling” tactic -- boxing in people -- if necessary.
The mayor declared a state of emergency earlier in the week before the guilty verdicts were announced Tuesday against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the May 25 murder of George Floyd.
The order gives Wheeler the power to set a curfew, blockade streets or call extra officers from the Oregon State Police and Oregon National Guard, if deemed necessary.
Wheeler and Acting Police Chief Chris Davis spoke Friday hours before another direct action was called in Couch Park in the Pearl District.