Antifa and other radical anarchists closed out the year with yet another riot in downtown Portland on New Year’s Eve — which was apparently the last straw for the city’s leftist mayor.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D), who for months rejected offers of federal assistance in dealing with violent “protests” from President Donald Trump, finally called for accountability and tough law enforcement action against the violent troublemakers in a New Year’s Day press conference.
The apparent change of heart followed a night of widespread vandalism in the downtown area, including graffiti and smashed windows, as well as violent attacks against the Portland Police Bureau, including the use of commercial-grade fireworks and Molotov cocktails, Breitbart reported.
Now Wheeler wants to get tough
“My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists,” Mayor Wheeler said during the press conference on Friday, according to local CBS affiliate KOIN. “In response, it will be necessary to use additional tools and to push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end.”
The exasperated mayor called out the destructive actions of leftist anarchists who claim to be fighting for racial justice yet are mostly middle- to upper-class white people. “Why would a group of largely white, young and some middle-age men destroy the livelihood of others who are struggling to get by?” Wheeler wondered, adding, “It is hard for me to accept that there are some people who are just bent on destruction.”
The Portland mayor announced that he has spoken with Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt and urged him to more aggressively prosecute lawbreakers.
That demand rings hollow, however, given the fact that, according to Breitbart, Schmidt’s office has dropped or dismissed charges against roughly 70 percent of arrested offenders over the tumultuous months of continuous unrest this year, including violent felony charges for attacks against law enforcement officials.
Wheeler’s three-pronged approach
KOIN reported that Mayor Wheeler is proposing a three-pronged approach to combatting the destruction and violence, one of which is calling on the state legislature to strengthen criminal penalties for repeat offenders.
Another measure suggested by Wheeler was for those arrested for criminal destruction to be forced to meet with the owners of the businesses they destroyed and to be required to do public service as part of their punishment to help clean up the community.
Arguably the most impactful prong of the mayor’s new approach, though, was for “federal, state, county, and local law enforcement to convene to deal with anarchist violence. as soon as possible.”
Multiple offers of help previously rejected
Concerned citizens and business owners might remember, however, that Wheeler turned down such help months ago. As reported by Fox News, the mayor objected to President Trump’s deployment of federal officials to protect a federal courthouse over the summer, and repeatedly rejected multiple offers of additional law enforcement assistance from the president.
In fact, Wheeler had previously blamed Trump and federal officials for the unprovoked violence and unrest — which continued unabated after the federal officials were pulled back. My, how the tables have turned.