Following the brutal violent attacks on conservative journalist Andy Ngo and two other older men by Antifa members in Portland, Oregon over the weekend, Mayor Ted Wheeler is under national scrutiny again for his lack of willingness to take control of his own city.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz demanded the Department of Justice conduct a criminal probe into Wheeler, claiming that he allowed for Ngo to be assaulted by the anti-fascist group.
“To federal law enforcement: investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who has, for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists,” Cruz tweeted Sunday.
Wheeler responded to Cruz Monday night saying “Dear @TedCruz,
At least get your facts straight. I ordered no such thing. Could you divert some of those investigation dollars to something that would actually benefit American cities? Infrastructure, affordable housing, mental health services come to mind.”
This is not the first time that Wheeler, who also serves as Portland’s Police Commissioner defending his capabilities to keep the city residents, workers, and visitors safe from harassment sprung up by violent mobs.
In 2018 the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees requested that state and federal officials also open a criminal investigation into Wheeler regarding his law enforcement response to the protests against ICE last summer, The Oregonian reported.
In letters to the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, attorney Sean Riddell, who represented the National ICE Council, requested officials to investigate if Wheeler committed illegal acts by instructing Portland Police to stand down when calls came in for help during protests against the ICE field office in Portland.
“Make no mistake. They are coming after me because I am a vocal opponent of the administration’s policy of separating kids from their parents,” Wheeler responded to The Oregonian in a statement. “Previous claims made by Sean Riddell have fallen apart upon further inspection and these claims, if investigated, will too.”
ICE protester obstructed the area surrounding the ICE field office, set up encampments and physically clashed with federal law enforcement. Most of the nineteen protesters were reportedly arrested by federal law enforcement for blocking the entrance to the ICE office. Three were allegedly arrested for assault of a federal officer.
KGW 8 reported the Portland Police Bureau had announced through social media posts they would not involve themselves in the protests against federal officers.
“In line with the Mayor and Police Commissioner’s directions, the Police Bureau has not been involved in the Federal Protective Services (FPS) actions as it related to Occupy ICE PDX,” said PPB Sgt. Chris Burley. “Portland Police Bureau officers recognized the need to assist motorists in identifying alternative routes around road closures due to actions related to Occupy ICE PDX.”
Riddell’s office was subsequently vandalized by self-identified anarchists last May, Willamette Week reported. The unnamed anarchists claim they stuck a garden hose through Riddell’s office door and flooded the space.
“I am aware that I have accepted unpopular clients and accepted advocacy of unpopular ideas,” Riddell said in a statement to Willamette Week referencing the vandalism.
Riddell added, “I have also accepted advocacy of positions that I did not personally hold as true. I did so, like most lawyers, because that is what our profession asks of us and I believe that through the crucible of civil debate and the forge of litigation that truth and fairness prevails. I believe in our judicial system.”
Around the same time of the ICE protests last year, a food truck parked near the Portland ICE office and served the homeless in the area, found itself getting harassed by protesters for also selling food to ICE employees.
Julie and Scott Hakes, owners of The Happy Camper Food and Coffee Bar, eventually shut down their food truck because they no longer felt safe in the neighborhood after protesters continually threatened their daughter.
According to KGW 8, The Happy Camper’s Facebook page at the time said the owners never received any help from Portland police.
By late October 2018, Antifa members were caught on camera verbally assaulting a senior citizen in a wheelchair and physically grabbing an elderly motorist and smashing his car with bats after they disrupted traffic during a protest.
According to KOIN, the driver is seen calling law enforcement, but police never intervened in the situation.
Not only has Wheeler allowed for violent protesters to roam the streets of the city without much consequence, but he also ordered the Portland Police to purge their entire database of all gang designations back in 2017.
According to The Oregonian, after 20 years in September 2017, local law enforcement in Portland was ordered to halt designating people as gang members or gang associates.