Mayor Ted Wheeler–aka, the only thing on the planet Antifa and Patriot Prayer/the Proud Boys agree on–had a press conference today in which he addressed the escalating street violence in Portland.
The thing that’s making local news right now is Wheeler’s insane admission that the police found two members of Patriot Prayer on a roof overlooking the August 4th protest with weapons and ammunition. The police apparently said, hey, don’t do that, then let the gentlemen (who had carry permits) go on their merry way.
Joey Gibson claims that they had parked in a car park (on the roof), wanted to take their weapons to the rally, were told by the cops they could not do this, and then put them back in the trunk. Your call who you want to believe here. Are the Portland Police so hopelessly incompetent/corrupt that they didn’t arrest people setting up an interlocking field of fire overlooking a rally where tensions were as high as they’ve been here so far? Or are they stretching the facts to justify placing limits on protest (see below)? Incompetence, lies, or both–your call.
The more important thing, though, is that Ted Wheeler is planning to enact an ordinance that allows the police commissioner to restrict the time and location of demonstrations if “two or more groups plan to demonstrate on the same day and there is a history of violence between the groups.” There are two more possible reasons a commissioner might enact such restrictions but it doesn’t matter because #1 describes literally every rally or protest in Portland right now.
I don’t envy Ted Wheeler. He has an impossible job. I’d flee the country if someone gave me that job. This measure probably sounded great in committee. Joey Gibson has already declared his full intention to physically challenge the ordinance. He dares the city to arrest him and put his name on national news. I can’t imagine Antifa too excited about cops telling them where and when they can exercise their first amendment rights–chances are they’re going to physically challenge it too. The folks at the ACLU “have serious concerns.” So do I.