Ted Wheeler and Portland Leaders Declare War on Antifa Violence

AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File

Let’s just say Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has not been a very good leader in dealing with Antifa — not only since May of last year, but for quite a long time before that.

Wheeler is also the city’s police commissioner.

What did Wheeler do in response to all the BLM/Antifa violence in his city?

He made it worse. He handcuffed the police from properly dealing with it. Then he caved and went along with defunding millions from the police, even abolishing the gun violence reduction team, in a move to appease the BLM.

How did that work? Antifa kept right on rioting, attacking people and things, and trying to burn down the federal courthouse and other buildings. Guess it wasn’t because of President Donald Trump, was it?

But Wheeler’s had a change of heart in the last few months, at least in terms of his public statements. May have had something to do with them trying to light his condo on fire last year.

At the beginning of this year, after a two-day violent Antifa rampage, Wheeler actually blasted Antifa by name, calling out their violence.

Oddly enough, that didn’t stop them. Now Wheeler’s upped the ante.

As we previously reported, he’s asked for $2 million for more police to deal with all the crime and murder rate that surged up after the defunding and getting rid of the gun violence team.

Now, he’s also hosted a video press conference with local leaders and a former NBA player to declare war on Antifa.

“We want you to know that we’re aligning our resources, we’re revising our tactics, and we’re fighting back with everything that we’ve got,” Wheeler said.

Local leaders, including former State Sens. Margaret Carter and Avel Gordly, made the point that what the anarchists were doing was not helpful to black lives that they were not helping black people. Carter decried the violence, saying that civil rights marchers like her never destroyed property. “Please stop it today…Cease and desist immediately.” That’s all well and good, but you were actually civil rights marchers and these people are marching for anarchy, chaos, and moving the country as far left as they can. It’s not the same thing or frankly even close. It’s a deception that they’ve hidden behind. Former Portland Trailblazer player Terry Porter said all this violence “doesn’t make me as a black man any safer.”

I have to admit while I listened to the whole hour of the press conference and subsequent questions so you don’t have to, my initial thoughts were “big deal, took them a whole year to say such things are wrong publicly.”

But I did see some signs of change in their actions.

First, the kettling that took place on Friday that we reported on, where they encircled the marchers and trapped them. They held about 100 and took the pictures and birthdates. Why? To identify all these folks who have consistently been involved. That means they’re more committed than they have been in the past to identify these folks. 13 were arrested in that action, firearms were found, and one person was arrested for throwing a full beer can at an officer, according to the Deputy Chief of Police. The kettling was a tactic that prompted legal action in the past, but it’s obviously a very effective way of stopping them, controlling them and ultimately identifying them.

Second, Wheeler explained that they would be employing such different tactics going forward to address the problem. Wheeler finally seems committed to doing something and you could tell the difference this time; he’s not just posturing for cameras. People were sick and tired of the violence, he said, and doing it “under the guise of some noble cause.”

Third, he said that that they had “several dozen prominent convictions recently,” including a conviction that earned the person three years probation and $46,000 in restitution for breaking windows. Now that’s hitting them where they live and finally he was saying that they needed to suffer consequences for this to stop. He said that was what he was seeing that he believed would make a difference.

Of course, it’s still a progressive haven, so I don’t know if I hold out a lot of hope, but there does seem to be a large dose of reality hitting.

Here’s the full presser if you want to check it out. Wheeler is mostly at the beginning and then at the question and answer session at the end.