PORTLAND, OR — A retired veteran and the co-founder of the Coalition to Save Portland said riots and protests have become normalized in the city of Portland since last year and wants that changed.
Gabriel Johnson, a retired Marine and co-founder of the Coalition to Save Portland, explained the current “atmosphere” in the city on “Fox & Friends Weekend” and stressed the importance of investing in public safety by funding the police.
This man is what we all need to be. Willing to stand for what we believe, even if we must be alone or afraid. I hope his courage is infectious. I hope he continues to show us this kind of leadership.— Life On Purpose (@LifeOnPurposeTV) July 19, 2020
Johnson, a lifelong resident of Portland, said visitors and residents no longer feel safe in in the city:
“Riots and protests have become normalized and part of the city’s landscape.
“It’s really, really unfortunate, and unfortunately it doesn’t lead to people feeling safe to even walk outside of their homes.”
Johnson blamed the destruction in Portland on the inaction of its leaders:
“The lack of police response, city response, response from our mayor has just given free rein to holy hell to take place at that 11 o’clock hour to 3 in the morning.”
The veteran supported the use of federal officers being sent into Portland last year by the Trump administration:
“In absence of the local police what do we expect? If we as a city aren’t going to police ourselves, then we should expect someone to come in and police for us.
“I look at everything from a patriot’s point of view. I’ve spent a lot of time fighting for our country. And so my belief in and my patriotism for this country is unmeasured.”
Marine Corps Veteran Gabriel Johnson: "This is my city…I will not let a bunch of terrorist thugs run me out of my city." pic.twitter.com/wDc8ytpxF9— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 24, 2020
Johnson also made it clear he did not serve his country to support homegrown chaos:
“I fought for this country and this is not what I fought for.”
Johnson became a target of violence by Antifa last July. He explained that he lived only one block away from the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in downtown Portland, which became an epicenter of violence.
“At that point I counted 82 explosions and just thought, you know, somebody has to do something.”
Then things quickly got ugly during his march. He told FOX News:
“I was being called the N-word by black people. People were chasing me around with baseball bats.”
“Gabriel Johnson, a 48-year-old Black man & retired Marine, said that after he went to protest outside the courthouse with his American flag in hand on July 19, he was called racial slurs & members of Antifa followed him home.”— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) July 26, 2020
Violent riots: https://t.co/UmjfqAlMzA
Someone was trying to burn his flag when a 65-year-old black veteran attempted to stop the person. That veteran was then beaten by alleged Black Lives Matter protestors, according to Johnson, who told FOX News at the time:
“Antifa has infiltrated Black Lives Matter. These people have nothing to do with black lives.
“Our black community leaders need to stand up and lead because what’s happening is they’re letting a group of terrorists that don’t represent me use me, and that’s not right.”
One homicide this time last year. 20 after defund police movement— Darian Rottmann (@DarianRottmann) March 14, 2021
More recently, Johnson has spoken up again after hearing a report by the Portland City Council that police and the FBI are on the city’s streets due to “imminent” threats from outside groups to “engage and advance gun violence” this upcoming weekend.
According to a FOX News report, officials reportedly said that groups involved in this violence have issued an order to shoot someone in the next 30 days or be shot for not showing loyalty, adding that people from Washington and California are in Portland to engage in gun violence.
In a statement, the FBI confirmed they will be on the streets of Portland engaging in “a very visible effort” with members of the Metro Safe Streets Task Force to “show the community that it is working to bring peace to the streets” and to send a message to criminals that “law enforcement is working assertively to find them and arrest them.”
Gabriel Johnson, tired of 50 straight nights of anarchy in the city, confronted those committing insurrection on the city… and then the threats began to get ugly.https://t.co/pdbX1Tl0KE— LawEnforcementToday (@LawEnforceToday) July 25, 2020
It is not clear which groups are allegedly involved in promoting gun violence this weekend.
However, in April Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who previously supported defunding police and diverted millions from the police bureau, had pleaded with the city’s residents to assist authorities in unmasking members of a “self-described anarchist mob” that had engaged in acts of violence and vandalism in recent months.
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Wheeler said at the time:
“The city is beginning to recover, but self-described anarchists who engage in regular criminal destruction don’t want things to open up, to recover.
“They want to prevent us from doing the work of making a better Portland for everyone. They want to burn, they want to bash.”
The mayor pointed out that local Black Lives Matter leaders had “already stepped forward to denounce these self-described anarchists.”
Wheeler also said he would work with local authorities to arrest and prosecute those who commit acts of violence:
“Together we can make a stand. We’re doing what we can today. I’m also asking for your help to make a stand and take our city back.”
Retired Marine Gabriel Johnson, who heard shots from his house during protests in Portland reacts to what needs to be done to bring back safety to his city on @foxandfriends pic.twitter.com/s8jmwRjZwl— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) August 31, 2020
Johnson said the city’s leadership was the root of the safety issue problem and noted that their actions did not build confidence that it is a core priority:
“Safety is something that you should assume, but unfortunately it’s not.”
For example, last June Portland’s city leaders voted to remove $16 million from the police budget, a move that included the elimination of a gun-violence reduction unit, according to The Associated Press.
After the vote took effect, Portland witnessed a surge in gun violence, with 20 homicides that mostly resulted from gunfire.
How’s that defund the police working for you Ted.— Dana Quigley (@allidoissin) March 10, 2021
In March, Wheeler decided refunding the police was needed after all.
The mayor pushed for nearly $2 million in additional funding for the city’s police force and other agencies, citing a rise in homicides and other violent crime.
However, members of the city council would not publicly comment or commit to his entire plan, according to a KATU report.
I am so looking forward to the City we get to build coming out of this pandemic. I refuse to go back to the inequitable Portland we had before. pic.twitter.com/lVU7MH7A2s— Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty (@JoAnnPDX) May 16, 2021
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s office told KATU that she was reviewing the proposal, but wanted to learn more.
Commissioner Mingus Mapps expressed partial support, such as the plans for the Office of Violence Prevention, increased investigative capacities within the city police force and more community oversight:
“There are parts of this proposal that I fully support.”
Wheeler requested hiring five additional detectives and forming a uniformed patrol team with a focus on gun violence, KATU-TV of Portland reported.
Stupid Ted Wheeler and the city council disbanded the gun violence team last year and now there have been many more shootings and killings since.— Chuck Ster (@ChuckSt33887432) March 13, 2021
They jumped on the bandwagon of BLM and did it to appeal to the liberal crowd in Portland.
Portlanders need to elect a better mayor.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reported last month that Wheeler proposed a $5.7 billion budget despite a $20 million shortfall in the city’s general fund:
“Like last year, the coronavirus pandemic continued to put a strain on the city’s finances. Many of the typical income streams the city relies on — primarily lodging and business license taxes — have continued to plummet and hurt the city’s general fund.”
In a statement sent to Fox News, a spokesman for Wheeler said public safety is one of the mayor’s “top three” priorities:
“He fully supports the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) both as Mayor and Police Commissioner.
“Since he became Mayor, PPB’s budget has grown significantly overall. The last year has been a trying one for members of the PPB, and he is indebted to them for standing firm during the difficult economic and crisis climate we’re facing.”
The spokesman also said the mayor supported “an add-back package restoring 30 officer positions to the bureau.”
In addition, the spokesman said the mayor “continues to be an advocate for officer deterrence around gun violence.”
When Johnson was asked last year if he might move out of Portland, he replied to “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy:
“This is my city. I was raised here. I will not let a bunch of terrorist thugs run me out of my city.”
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