Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler: We want the federal troops to leave the city

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Black Lives Matter, defund police and social justice protests were in every state in America starting in late May, following the murder of George Floyd. In some states, the number and size of the protests has dropped off. But in Portland, Oregon, there have been 50 days and 50 nights of protests. I would have thought that this would be kind of obvious given the demographics or Portland, a city which has become younger, more diverse and more liberal in recent decades. Of course Portlanders are protesting, you know?

What’s completely strange is that the Trump administration wants to make an example of Portland, and they want to pretend that Portland is some kind of outlier, that protesters have taken control of the city (they have not), or that local leaders have not been able to handle the situation. Which is why the Department of Homeland Security – we think? – has sent into federal agents or military or WHO KNOWS into Portland. These heavily armed and violent federal agents are causing havoc in Portland, they’re beating and tear-gassing protesters and they’re also picking up protesters and unlawfully detaining them for hours or days, all without arresting them or even identifying which department or branch of government they work for. This is unconstitutional. The mayor of Portland had some stuff to say:

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said President Donald Trump doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on in his city, adding that the Trump administration’s tactics in the area “are abhorrent.”

“Well, the president has a complete misunderstanding of cause and effect,” Wheeler said in responding to Trump’s Sunday morning tweet about Portland. “What’s happening here is, we have dozens, if not hundreds of federal troops descending upon our city. And what they’re doing is, they are sharply escalating the situation. Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism. And it’s not helping the situation at all. They’re not wanted here. We haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave.”

The president earlier Sunday tweeted that his administration is “trying to help Portland, not hurt it.” “Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators,” he wrote. “They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!”

The tweet comes as the increased federal presence in Portland has come under intense scrutiny following videos posted online showing agents, who were not clearly identified, hauling away protesters in unmarked vans. Videos on social media also showed federal officers in camouflage aiming weapons and using smoke against protesters.

Speaking Sunday, Wheeler said he believes the Trump administration is breaking the law with its usage of a federal policing force in his city. “The tactics that the Trump administration are using on the streets of Portland are abhorrent,” he said. “People are being literally scooped off the street into unmarked vans, rental cars, apparently. They are being denied probable cause and they’re denied due process. They don’t even know who’s pulling them into the vans. The people aren’t identifying themselves. And, as far as I can see, this is completely unconstitutional.”

[From NBC News]

This NBC News story included a piece of information which I did not know, which is that the US Attorney for the Portland area, a man named Billy J. Williams, claims that the federal authorities are in Portland because protesters are targeting federal buildings or federal property. That… would still be unconstitutional, to have federal DHS or actual Army people protecting an office building in Portland, but that’s not even what’s actually happening. Mayor Wheeler is correct – these are armed federal people, wearing camouflage (for some reason), purposefully clashing with protesters and scooping up people on the street and shoving them into vans. This is kidnapping, unlawful detention, etc. And I still don’t understand WHY it’s Portland.

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39 Responses to “Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler: We want the federal troops to leave the city”

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  1. Mina_Esq says:

    I’m honestly interested to know what those protesting face masks because of “freedom” think about the federal government’s use of these forces. This is gestapo type of sh**. THIS is one of the markings of a police state.

  2. Elizabeth R says:

    Thanks for covering this. I live in Portland, and am really glad to see what’s happening here is getting some national attention. Secretary of DHS has openly stated that this is a trial run and they plan to take this tactic to other cities. The protests have been peaceful with the exception of police and feds using violent and unconstitutional tactics on citizens. There is no shortage of videos on Twitter and elsewhere showing the kind of tactics both the local police and unnamed feds are using on peaceful protestors. I don’t know where this ends, and see it as a test case for Trump to suppress voting in blue states (basically use authoritarian-style crackdowns to declare martial law) as a way to swing the election in his favor. Fortunately Oregon has mail-in ballots, but many other states don’t. It’s a mess.

    • chicken tetrazzini! says:

      Rumors say Milwaukee is next, although as a Wisconsinite, I’ve heard of nothing that would require federal assistance to maintain order. No statues torn down… The Fonz is still upright on the riverwalk… this is terrifying and I hope you Portlanders are ok

    • Esmom says:

      I’m in Chicago and apparently the head of the FOP has requested “assistance” from Trump, completely going around the chain of command and once again spitting on our mayor. I’d say her job performance is mixed but she does not deserve the incessant vitriol she is getting from the police. I’m really frightened by what Trump is doing to throw more fuel on the fire.

      Wishing Portland a peaceful resolution.

    • lisa says:

      Well I live in Portland too, Elizabeth, AND I live downtown. I disagree with your characterization of the “protesters” as peaceful.

      • Rosemary says:

        Well, Lisa, I live in Portland too and I live downtown, AND I disagree with your characterization of your “name” as Lisa. It’s obviously Karen.

      • Elizabeth R says:

        Late to the party here, but yeah, I live in Portland and I live downtown also. 99% of the protests are peaceful, the vast majority of the law enforcement responses have been violent and unlawful uses of force, on the same level as the fascist crackdowns we’ve seen in other countries. I suggest following some of the local, on-the-ground reporters who have been reporting on this for over 50+ nights to get the full context.

  3. FHMom says:

    Portland has been a progressive city for a while. Once Seattle started getting crowded and expensive in the 90’s, people started moving to Portland instead. It’s unbelievable what is happening there. Also unbelievable is the lack of coverage the situation is getting.

    • Elizabeth R says:

      Right? this needs to be headline news.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Oregon has been a progressive state for quite some time.

      • Algernon says:

        Portland and its environs are progressive. Eastern Oregon is full of unpleasantness. It’s a clash between militia-minded separatists and the descendants of Confederates who vacated the South after they lost the Civil War.

  4. DME says:

    This is because it’s a blue city. Period! Be prepared for this in others.

  5. Leslie says:

    Trump is testing the waters for Full Dictator. We need to be prepared to fight because this is going to get very ugly.

    • Jbolivars2020 says:

      Leslie, yes 100% agree. This is dress rehearsal for dictatorship; I’m afraid this is a preview of what his White House will attempt if election results don’t go his way. He is rousing his base, they are ever more vocal & aggressive. He is constantly egging them on to react and engage in violence. This is BAD.

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      And on the other side of the coin, always trumpers are arguing that this is all part of a socialist revolution (covid included) to overthrow the government. I’m like, do you not see the DICTATOR you’re throwing in with??

  6. Aang says:

    This is terrifying. I truly believe this is beyond trump. He’s just a useful, evil idiot for the real villains. And I think we are truly witnessing the beginning of the end for our democracy. Also if the mayor wants the feds gone can’t he instruct the city police to protect the protesters? The police work for the city.

    • Rosemary says:

      Ted Wheeler is actually the police commissioner here in Portland. The Portland police, Multnomah county sheriff’s office, Oregon State troopers and feds have all been working hand in hand. Tear gas Teddy repeatedly requested that the national guard be brought in by Kate Brown, who after repeatedly turning him down agreed to bring in un-armed members to assist the ppb in administrative and organizational roles. He declared a curfew preventing us from using our constitutional rights, which resulted in houseless citizens being teargassed for violating the curfew. He wants the feds here! His reputation is in the gutter, and he’s hoping everyone will forget about how awfully he and his police force treated peaceful protesters with the feds distracting everyone, and at the same time he’s hoping the feds sufficiently subjugate us so we no longer have the life blood to continue to speak out against the racial injustice in our city, state, and country.
      Ted Wheeler is a cop, and ACAB!!!

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Despicable. But not shocking. Actually expected at this point. And Congress just lets it happen like they’ve done for four years of daily abuse of power. Let’s just let Lord Farquaad ride shotgun with an automatic as he shreds the Constitution and kills Americans any which way he can.

  8. Tiffany says:

    Kate Brown, the Governor of Oregon is a woman.

    That is why they are there.

    Governor Brown refuses to kiss Casino or Tom Green’s backside and that is why they are there.

    They are going to be the woman in her place whether she likes it or not.

  9. Jess says:

    Everyday the desire for the west coast to secede grows. I just want the federal government to leave us alone.

  10. Chiara says:

    Ted Wheeler did nothing to stop his own police force from attacking protesters with tear gas, batons, and other “less lethal” munitions night after night for more than a month before the feds showed up and now he wants to stand up for protestors? Not buying it. He wants the good PR of standing up to the feds, he doesn’t actually care about the protestors.

  11. D says:

    I read from a Portland protestor on Twitter that the Mayor of Portland Wheeler is also the POLICE COMMISSIONER, which if true would be a main reason why this is happening. He let policing get out of hand with violence against the protestors and it escalated into this.

    • Chiara says:

      Exactly, this situation is entirely of his making for not standing up to his police 40+ days ago. Ted Wheeler is not a victim here, the protesters and citizens of Portland are.

  12. Rosemary says:

    Today is day 54. I have been protesting here in Portland on behalf of racial equality for several weeks now, and although the feds are terrible, they aren’t much worse than the PPB. As a peaceful protester, I have been maced, repeatedly tear gassed, had less than lethals fired at me, been subjected to lrad and flashbangs, shoved to the ground and body slammed all by the local Portland police before and since the feds were here. (I’ve now had all those things happen to me by the feds as well, I’m certain this is taking years off my life, and I am overwhelmed by my PTSD). The PPB arrested me for peaceful resistance and then didn’t even bother to tell me what my charges were, I found out from jail support on my way out. Trump officially sent the feds to protect the statues, but a big part of the reason they’re here now is 1) Tear Gas Teddy/Warcrime Wheeler (our police commissioner btw) lied and exaggerated about the almost exclusively peaceful movement asking for the police to be defunded. He painted us as wild, violent anarchists, falsely declaring us rioters (the only riots have been cop and fed riots) and this was what was reported on by the almost exclusively white local and national man stream media (aka fox). 2) Daryl Turner, the PPA union president, has apparently been sucking Chad Wolf’s taint this entire time 3)Kate Brown is a woman who has vocally opposed Trump.
    BTW, the group of white mom’s you featured have only just started protesting this weekend, there were lots of bipoc mom’s out the first 50 days and even the last 50 years who aren’t receiving coverage and didn’t just jump on the bandwagon the way these mom’s did once we started getting national coverage. Kaiser, I would appreciate it if when you cover this anti-racist movement in our city and beyond, that you highlighted the efforts of the black and brown residents who have been risking their lives since before it became a trend, thank you. I’ve attended rallies where Teressa Raiford spoke, and marched behind Kent Ford, they’ve done far more for the cause than a bunch of white soccer moms combined.
    It’s been confirmed that Trump and Chad Wolf intend to use Portland as a test run for a national program using feds (we have us Marshalls, DHS and Border Patrol here atm) to enforce the “law” in every major (blue) city in the USA. And yes, enforcing the law does mean body snatching people who peacefully criticize their city or even are just walking near where others have walked, and yes it does mean they’ll collect your cell data and show up at your door without probable cause other than you walked through downtown, yes it does mean they’ll grab minors and hold them without informing their parents. If you live in the US and you aren’t doing everything you can to help Portland send the feds packing, then you’re helping a real life Gilead establish itself in your own city. If you aren’t coming here to help, or aren’t speaking up and or writing about it, or aren’t donating to the cause, then you are betraying your nation and it’s residents. F**k 12!

    • Jbolivars2020 says:

      I appreciate your post, please what are some actionable things we can do? I am sincere in seeking some kind of starting point.

      • Rosemary says:

        Hi, thank you! The ACLU Oregon has been actively trying to get the feds out and ppb to stop brutalizing us. The nlg Portland is offering free legal services to protesters arrested by both the ppb and the feds. Organizations such as Don’t shoot PDX and care not cops have been committed for years to trying to abolish our police state. NextUP Oregon is trying to get the vote for incarcerated individuals in our state and lower the voting age to 16. Also on an individual level we need protective gear such as helmuts, gas masks, goggles etc.

    • Jaded says:

      Rosemary – thank you for this detailed piece. The whole world’s watching what is unfolding with abject terror. America is turning into a totalitarian regime, and as a Canadian living next door to it I’m aghast that people still support Trump. Thank you also for taking part in the protests, and hope you stay safe.

    • Auntie Git says:

      👏🏻👍🏻 Fellow Portlander here. Do what she says, please Cb, Kaiser, everyone. The movement’s BIPOC are the real stars, but apparently white moms getting tear gassed gets the national attention that is SO needed. This is Trump’s test to innure us to these same tactics he’ll likely use in November and January. Be ready, America.

    • Joanna says:

      You’re amazing Rosemary! *kisses**

  13. KellyRyan says:

    I’m sorry Portland, but not surprised at Drumpf’s continued attempts to shred America. I have family in Oregon, one who speaks publicly against aerial sprays, a nephew in med school. We’ve had our fights with Drumpf in CA. One of them, National Guard on the CA, Mexico border. I hope your Gov and Mayor take the same tactic we’ve used, file suit to stop.

  14. Sportlady20 says:

    We have a woman governor who doesn’t cave to the men. We’re liberal & have been forever, I grew up here & am 48 now, I used to protest W & Cheney, they called us little Beirut, but never did this. The outlying small spaces tend to be republicans Ish. He’s warming up we’re his starting act.

  15. Lary says:

    Isn’t this what Russia did in Crimea? Send in some unmarked “little green men” who couldn’t be identified…I guess he’s taking tactical lessons from his bestie Vlad!

  16. Onemoretime says:

    tRump is sending troops here to Kansas City to. We shall see if they do the same thing. There was a protest in front of the police station about federal troops being sent here under the guise of helping with “crimes” in our city.
    We also have a young African American mayor and a Republican governor who presumably asked for help. He’s up for re-election in November. Hopefully we’ll vote him out.
    Out protest have been pretty peaceful, with the occasional police escalation.

  17. Anabe says:

    Characterizing all of Oregon as a liberal state is beyond inaccurate. I live here too and the amount of abuse and rhetoric I hear against Kate Brown and pro Trump is disgusting, pervasive and ubiquitous. I have seen “all lives matter” protests. Look up groups taking arms against “antifa” in Klamath Falls and Coquille to name a few. And Trump is absolutely doing this because Kate Brown is a strong ass female who hasn’t backed down from his neanderrhal sexist ingnorant bullshit. Just the way she has handled the Coronavirus crisis probably has him shaking his tiny little baby fists to the sky in fury. What’s going on in Portland is a warning. The rest of the country should be watching, listening and preparing because it’s coming their way sooner than they think.