Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Ore.) claimed that his police officers will not be tolerating any violence at the protests planned for this weekend.
Right-wing “Proud Boys” are expected to clash with left-wing Antifa demonstrators at the end of the week, as the two groups both have demonstrations planned in Portland. Both groups have a history of violent behavior.
Run-ins between the two sides have become commonplace in Portland. Under Wheeler’s watch, several violent outbursts between the two have taken place, often including injuries or damage to people outside the two groups.
As IJR previously reported, reporter Andy Ngo suffered a mild brain injury after he was attacked by Antifa earlier this summer. Wheeler was widely condemned for his response to the attack but he claimed he was in South America at the time of that protest. None of Ngo’s assailants have been arrested.
While Ngo’s attack may have been the most recent story to come out of the Antifa demonstrations in Portland, it’s nowhere near the first time the city has witnessed violence.
In 2018, Wheeler ordered police to stand down during Antifa protests against Immigration and Customs Enforcement which left the city in a state of anarchy. He even defended the police’s inaction when an elderly man was attacked by protesters.
But with tensions high for the upcoming weekend, Wheeler claimed the city will not tolerate violence from either side. He spoke to Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” about his plan for the potentially explosive weekend.
Watch Wheeler’s comments:
“All police agencies across the nation, including our own, have learned a lot from the Charlottesville experience. The key is, from the very beginning, keep those different factions separated. Give people the space they need to exercise their right to assembly and theor right First Amendment rights as long as they are being peaceful. We are going to keep people separated, we are going to make sure that we use personnel and other tactics to keep that separation. And on the whole, we have been very good at that. So that’s what we are going to continue to do.”
However, when Wheeler received pushback from host Sandra Smith on how the city has failed to arrest any of the people responsible for the attack on Ngo, he became defensive and claimed that the city doesn’t tolerate violence.
“We don’t tolerate any act of violence, not that act of violence or any other,” said Wheeler. “The police are investigating and they are following up on leads.”
The mayor also added that he’s “confident” the police will arrest the people responsible for Ngo’s attack.