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Oregon Sheriffs Refuse To Comply With Governor’s Call To Send Deputies To Portland

Portland, OR – The sheriffs of two counties in Oregon said they will not comply with the governor’s request that they send their deputies to Portland to help quell the violent riots that have been plaguing the city for the past 99 consecutive nights.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown unveiled her “Unified Law Enforcement Plan” on Aug. 30, KATU reported.

Brown named several law enforcement agencies in her plan, and called on them to “support the Portland Police Bureau with personnel and resources to keep the peace and protect free speech.”

Brown declared that the Oregon State Police (OSP) would be returning to Portland to aid the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) in dealing with the uprisings, USA Today reported.

She also called on the Gresham Police Department, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to come help handle the city’s problems.

“We all must come together—elected officials, community leaders, all of us—to stop the cycle of violence,” Brown said about her so-called plan to end the riots, according to KATU. “But this is only the first step. Real change will come from the hard work to achieve racial justice. And it starts with all of us listening to each other, and working together.”

But according to Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts, Brown didn’t bother to contact him about her grandiose plan to use his deputies to stamp out violence in Portland before she made her announcement on Sunday.

Sheriff Roberts released a statement saying he was “surprised” when he read about the governor’s announcement.

“Had Governor Brown discussed her plan with my office, I would have told her it’s about changing policy and not adding resources,” the sheriff wrote. “Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and now, murder. The only way to make Portland safe again, is to support a policy that holds offenders accountable for their destruction and violence.”

Sheriff Roberts said that the Multnomah County District Attorney and the Multnomah County courts already have the ability to curb the mayhem.

“That will require the DA to charge offenders appropriately and a decision by the Multnomah County Presiding Judge not to allow offenders released on their own recognizance, and instead require bail with conditions,” he said.

Sheriff Roberts noted that the “same offenders are arrested night after night, only to be released by the court and not charged with a crime by the DA’s office.”

“The next night they are back at it, endangering the lives of law enforcement and the community all over again,” he said. “Had Governor Brown asked me, I would have told her that no amount of human resources will stop the ‘cycle of violence’ (her term) that is making Portland unsafe. For that to occur, the criminal justice system will need to do its part and hold offenders accountable.”

Sheriff Roberts and Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett said that they will not be sending their deputies into harm’s way, despite Brown’s call for them to do so.

Sheriff Garrett released a statement on Monday, noting that he plans to continue supporting PPB “through indirect ways, like analyzing risks associated with social media, air support, [and] assisting with a specific criminal investigation,” among other things.

He said he is not planning to send deputies to Portland at this time.

“PPB is a terrific partner and I am very sympathetic to what they are enduring,” Sheriff Garrett wrote. “However, the lack of political support for public safety, the uncertain legal landscape, the current volatility combined with intense scrutiny on use of force presents an unacceptable risk if deputies were deployed directly.”

OSP troopers were initially sent to Portland in early August as part of a deal brokered between Brown and Vice President Mike Pence to withdraw federal law enforcement officers from the city if OSP could protect the federal courthouse, according to Reuters.

The OSP pulled out of the city two weeks later, after newly-elected Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced that his office wouldn’t be prosecuting the vast majority of arrests that had been made during the riots that have cost local businesses in the tens of millions of dollars.

“Many of the people who have been arrested at these protests for low level offenses come to us with little to no prior criminal history, and we have little to no reason to believe they will re-offend,” Schmidt said in a statement on Aug. 11, according to KATU.

The next day, the state police announced they would be pulling troopers out of Portland, KGW reported.

“The Oregon State Police is continually reassessing our resources and the needs of our partner agencies and at this time we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority,” OSP Captain Timothy Fox said in a statement.

“Last night was our last night in Portland,” Capt. Fox said at the time.

Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have repeatedly turned down President Donald Trump’s offers to send federal officers to Portland to help local and state law enforcement.

They have spent the past three months doing little more than pointing their fingers at President Trump as the city descended into chaos.

Initially, they claimed that the rioting taking place in downtown Portland would dissipate if the Trump administration would remove federal officers from the area and allow the city’s police force to handle the violent uprisings with the help of the OSP.

Changing the guard, however, had no effect on stopping the violent riots in front of the federal building.

Rioters have repeatedly attacked federal, state, and local law enforcement officers with explosive devices, rocks, ball bearings, golf balls, Molotov cocktails, and other projectiles during the nightly chaos.

They have blocked traffic on countless streets, looted and torched businesses, destroyed historic landmarks, and repeatedly attempted to burn down police precincts, the federal courthouse, and the Police Protective Association building, among others.

Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of law enforcement and President Trump, was shot in the chest by a rioter on Aug. 29 and left to die in the street.

Antifa celebrated his murder, cell phone videos showed.

The shooting suspect, Michael Forest Reinoehl, is self-proclaimed antifa, according to The Oregonian.

“The person who died was a Patriot Prayer person,” a member of the riotous mob told the crowd. “He was a f–king Nazi! Our community held its own and took out the trash!”

Patriot Prayer is a local right-wing group which has held Christian pro-Trump rallies in the Portland area. Their rallies have attracted antifa who show up to disrupt the events.

Many of the events have ended in rioting after the antifa turn violent.

Wheeler boasted about turning down the President’s latest offer of help in a letter on Aug. 28.

“Today, I sent this open letter via email to President Trump declining his recurring offer to aid Portland by sending federal enforcement to our city,” Wheeler wrote in a Facebook post. “He needs to know that here in Portland, we are focused on coming together as a community to solve the serious challenges we face due to systemic racism, a global pandemic and an economic recession.”

In the letter, Wheeler bragged that President Trump had tried to aid Portland “yet again,” but that he’d refused his help.

“On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks,” the mayor wrote. “We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery. Portlanders are onto you. We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic.”

Wheeler alleged that the President has been spreading “images of violence” because they are his “only ticket to reelection.”

Wheeler said in his letter that “those who commit criminal acts will be apprehended and prosecuted under the law,” directly conflicting with Schmidt’s prior announcement that his office won’t be prosecuting a vast majority of the arrests that have been made during the past 99 days of rioting.

“When you sent the Feds to Portland last month, you made the situation far worse,” Wheeler told President Trump in the open letter. “Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city…Stay away, please.”

But if the mayor thought his message to the President would appease the riotous mobs, he was mistaken.

Protesters gathered outside his apartment building just hours later, locking arms and demanding to be let inside, video footage showed.

The group then proceeded to hold a loud rock concert out on the street, including an “antifa mosh pit,” according to reporter Andy Ngo.

In late July, as the city was experiencing the deadliest month in 30 years, Wheeler toyed with the idea of ordering the PPB to hand the city over to the violent mob.

Wheeler texted one of his top aides, Sonia Schmanski, about his plan to have the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) stand down in late July, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

He acknowledged that the move would be “high risk,” but claimed the city had “nothing to lose” by trying it anyway, according to the news outlet.

Someone managed to convince the mayor that handing the city over to a violent mob might not be the best course of action, especially after the rioters began moving into residential neighborhoods.

“I was persuaded that a complete withdrawal, even for one evening to test the ability to completely deescalate the situation, would be a risk that was too great,” Wheeler told Oregon Public Broadcasting in a recent interview. “We could not risk the people who were in the immediate vicinity.”

But that isn’t to say he wouldn’t consider following through with his idea in the future.

“We’re all considering all options,” Wheeler continued. “The core objective here is to create a free and safe space to those people who want to express their First Amendment rights and to compartmentalize and deescalate the violence as much as possible and where it’s safe to do so arrest people and hold them accountable.”

“That’s the formula,” he added at the time, without providing any clear plan of action moving forward.

President Trump spoke out about Wheeler’s inability to shut down the rioters in a series of tweets on Sunday afternoon.

“Ted Wheeler, the wacky Radical Left Do Nothing Democrat Mayor of Portland, who has watched great death and destruction of his City during his tenure, thinks this lawless situation should go on forever. Wrong! Portland will never recover with a fool for a Mayor….” Trump wrote.

He noted that Wheeler “tried mixing with the Agitators and Anarchists,” but that he was only met with ridicule and mockery.

“He would like to blame me and the Federal Government for going in, but he hasn’t seen anything yet,” the President continued. “We have only been there with a small group to defend our U.S. Courthouse, because he couldn’t do it….”

President Trump said that the residents of Portland and other cities throughout the U.S. “want Law & Order.”

“The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland…will never be able to do it!” the President declared.

He called Wheeler “weak and pathetic” in another tweet, and later likened him to presidential hopeful Joe Biden, USA Today reported.

“Wheeler is incompetent, much like Sleepy Joe Biden,” President Trump wrote. “This is not what our great Country wants. They want Safety & Security, and do NOT want to Defund our Police!”

Wheeler argued that he is doing all he can to curb the violence, and said that President Trump should either support him or “stay the hell out of the way,” USA Today reported.

He also blasted the President for referring to the hundreds of pro-Trump demonstrators who caravanned from Clackamas to Portland on Saturday as “GREAT PATRIOTS!” according to The Guardian.

“Mr. President, how can you think that a comment like that…is in any way helpful?” Wheeler asked. “It’s an aggressive stance, it is not collaborative.”

On Monday, Trump tweeted that he will send in federal officers if Wheeler doesn’t get the situation under control quickly.

“Portland is a mess, and it has been for many years,” he tweeted, according to the Associated Press. “If this joke of a mayor doesn’t clean it up, we will go in and do it for them!”

Brown said on Sunday that Trump is the one to blame for Danielson’s murder.

“[He] has encouraged division and stoked violence,” the governor alleged, according to CNN. “It happened in Kenosha. And now, unfortunately, it is happening in Portland, Oregon.”

Brown further alleged that Patriot Prayer was responsible for causing problems in downtown Portland, not the rioters who have been burning and looting the city for over three months.

“The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight,” Brown said in a statement after Danielson’s murder, according to USA Today. “Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.”

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Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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