Editor Note: If you’re looking for the petition to officially label ANTIFA a domestic terrorist organization, you can find it at the bottom of the article.
It’s about time.
Authorities in Portland, Oregon are calling for laws that will help curb violence at demonstrations. Among those laws would be one that would prohibit protestors from wearing masks. Another would allow police to videotape demonstrations and would also give the city more control over rallies organized by groups that have violent histories.
“We cannot allow people to continue to use the guise of free speech to commit a crime,’’ police Chief Danielle Outlaw said in a Wednesday news conference.
That conference was held to address the violence last week during three competing downtown demonstrations.
A number of people were hurt during them when ANTIFA battled with conservative protestors with the Proud Boys and supporters of the #HimToo movement.
Oregon wouldn’t be the first state. 15 other states and a number of countries have anti-mask laws.
Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon said it’s a violation of the Constitution.
“A policy that prohibits wearing a mask to a protest will have police focusing on the wrong issue,” said Sarah Armstrong.
She’s a spokeswoman for the group.
“Behavior is the issue, not the mask,” she said. “It could be argued that the mask is an important symbolic part of a protester’s message. … There are many legitimate reasons people wear ‘masks,’ including political and religious reasons.”
But Outlaw said the masks are actually a matter of public safety.
“A lot of people are emboldened because they know they can’t be identified,’’ Outlaw said.
Opponents say these laws would deprive people anonymity to express their views and would violate their First Amendment rights.
“We looked into it previously and the constitutional free speech issues are difficult to overcome, at least in Oregon, said Tim Crail, chief of staff for Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has made national headlines again this week after masked antifa members took over the streets in what turned into a violent clash between two differing political groups.
Reports indicated that officers, journalists and even bystanders were caught in the crossfire of the group’s chaos.
Multiple people reported being hit by a substance that was thought to originally be milkshakes, but actually turned out to be quick-drying concrete mixtures in paper cups. The mixture could apparently harden within a matter of minutes.
Wheeler reportedly kept completely quiet on Saturday as hundreds of protestors gathered in the streets to raise their voices against the notorious Proud Boys group. Previous protests between these groups have led to violent outbursts in the past.
So where was Mayor Wheeler while his streets descended into chaos and his police force was assaulted?
That question was voiced by many online… Where was Mayor Wheeler?
Answer: nowhere to be found.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) June 29, 2019
Back in October, Wheeler addressed his hands-off approach to the increasing number of incidents involving the antifascist group.
“This is the story of Goldilocks and the two bears. The porridge is either too hot or it’s too cold,” he told reporters. “At any given moment in this city, the police are criticized for being heavy-handed and intervening too quickly, or they’re being criticized for being standoffish and not intervening quickly enough.”
Journalist Andy Ngo was on the street during the heated protests. Video captured masked antifa members punching, kicking and throwing things at Ngo.
What happened to @MrAndyNgo is horrible and inexcusable. The #mayor @tedwheeler should be resign for what he has done to #portland. I feel bad for the @PortlandPolice having their hands tied. The socialists with #antifa are dangerous and un-American. pic.twitter.com/k7PV2YTUgW
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) June 30, 2019
Antifa protestors also threw trash cans, newspaper stands, eggs and patio furniture into the streets, according to a KPTV report.
The protest was eventually condemned as an unlawful gathering and police began using pepper spray and zip-tie cuffs to control the situation.
A total of three arrests were made.
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“During today’s events, there were multiple assaults reported, as well as projectiles thrown at demonstrators and officers,” police said. “There were also reports of pepper spray and bear spray being used by people in the crowd. Officers deployed pepper spray during the incident.”
— Jimmy Dore (@jimmy_dore) June 29, 2019
This continues a long legacy of these types of violent gatherings within the Portland city walls.
In April, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts decided to pull deputy support for Portland calls altogether.
He wrote an email to his deputies, stating his concern for their safety.
“I will not place you at unnecessary personal and professional risk,” the email read.
The city of Portland is largely patrolled by the Portland Police Bureau and receives support from neighboring counties like Clackamas Sheriff’s Department. With this decision, remaining officers in the area will no doubt feel the stress of being understaffed.
VIDEO: 'Riot' Erupts in Portland, Ore. May Day Protest pic.twitter.com/IOr2g4qQId
— azcentral (@azcentral) May 2, 2017
The decision to stop responding to routine calls was made following a statement released by the Portland Police Association.
Due to the overwhelming ‘anti-police’ attitudes in the city of Portland, some officials are stepping in to say ‘no more.’ Enter – Sheriff Craig Roberts.
“The reason the Police Bureau is experiencing catastrophic staffing shortages, drastically declining recruiting success, and the inability to retain officers is due to one core issue: the intense anti-police sentiment in our City that City Council seems to share,” the post from the PPA read.
“False narratives, knee jerk political reactions, along with personal and political agendas have created a hostile work environment and made it an impossible task to effectively police in the City of Portland. Our police officers are frustrated. They deserve better. They deserve to work in an environment where they can perform their primary function — keeping our communities safe — with the support of City Hall. Similarly, our communities are frustrated. They deserve better. They deserve safe, clean streets. It’s that simple,” the PPA’s post read.
“Our elected officials need to prioritize basic city services, the most basic of which is public safety and livability. They can start by doing three things: improving the livability of our drastically deteriorating neighborhoods; supporting the incredible work our officers do to keep our communities safe; and having enough police officers to satisfy our communities’ public safety needs.”
Portland officer have repeatedly been told to stand down during past protests. Mayor Wheeler tends to side with the liberal agenda, taking protests as just people expressing their feelings. But things have gotten violent a number of times.
It’s unclear of which direction Portland is heading… but if nothing changes, it appears that the mayor may no longer have control of his constituents.
"Reason the Police Bureau is experiencing catastrophic staffing shortages, drastically declining recruiting success, & the inability to retain officers is due to 1 core issue: the intense anti-police sentiment in our City that City Council seems to share," https://t.co/CEdGIqJZfQ
— Mental Ammo (@MentalAmmo) April 30, 2019
There’s currently a White House Petition that has over 32,000 signatures and is fast on its way to the needed 100,000 signatures needed to be recognized as an official petition.
The petition reads,
“As President Trump’s first term comes to a close, Antifa organizations all around the nation have gotten even more violent and depraved. They have burnt down universities, attacked the elderly and even threatened acid attacks. Antifa continues to target their fellow citizens with acts of violence and intimidation in order to reach a desired political outcome. Recently, members of Antifa brutally assaulted an independent journalist, who remains hospitalized with a brain bleed after being viciously beaten and doused in liquid concrete.
Demand the White House and President Trump take direct action in labeling Antifa as a domestic terrorist group, full stop. Our nation’s security and homeland are at risk until we are able to clearly define Antifa as domestic terrorists.
End this madness.”
Here is how we do our part in ending this madness. Go right now to https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/demand-president-trump-label-antifa-domestic-terrorist-organization. Sign the petition and then share this article to all of your friends and family. This petition can reach over 100,000 signatures if we all do our part.