Portland, OR – The Portland City Council voted unanimously on July 22 to immediately ban Portland Police Bureau (PPB) employees from cooperating with federal law enforcement agencies.
The council further prohibited the PPB from arresting or using force against journalists or legal observers without reasonable suspicion that they violated the law, even though a federal judge in Portland already ordered such requirements, The Oregonian reported.
Under the new rules, PPB employees may face disciplinary action if they request, provide, or willingly receive assistance from anyone representing a federal agency.
The resolution was the brainchild of Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, according to The Oregonian.
“Whether you agree with the protesters or not, if you believe in the Constitution of the United States, you must oppose the actions of this president and the violent suppression of individuals exercising their constitutional rights,” Eudaly declared.
She said the rule changes were essential in helping to ensure the PPB protects citizens from civil rights violations, The Oregonian reported.
“Not only is the Trump administration violating the constitutional rights of Portlanders, but they are also attempting to use Portland as a proving ground for fascism,” Eudaly told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “They plan to invade cities across the country — cities that are political targets of the president.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he will require PPB Chief Chuck Lovell to issue an order specifying what is expected of police personnel in light of the new resolution.
“Let me be clear, the opening came for 45 to send in this militia squad because of the over aggressive actions of Portland police,” Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “We cannot put the blame totally on this federal secret police force.”
Critics have alleged that federal officers have deployed tear gas and other less-lethal munitions against people who they claimed have done nothing wrong.
But Portland business owners have reported a staggering $23 million in losses due to rioting and looting in the downtown area, FOX News reported.
Rioters have attacked police, vandalized buildings, looted businesses, destroyed historical landmarks, and ignited fires throughout the downtown area on a nightly basis for nearly two months.
“These individuals are organized, and they have one mission in mind – to burn down or to cause extreme damage to the federal courthouse and to law enforcement officers,” DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“At times, we also see them targeting city property,” Wolf added.
He noted that the rioters congregate in the same area “night after night,” and that officers can see them planning their various attacks.
“And yet, the city of Portland takes little-to-no action to stop or disperse this crowd,” Wolf said. “These individuals carry lasers, baseball bats, explosive fireworks, metal pipes, glass bottles, accelerants, and other weapons – all targeting federal facilities and federal law enforcement – and yet, the city of Portland takes little-to-no action.”
Hours after the City Council’s vote on Wednesday, Wheeler strapped on his goggles and joined up with rioters outside the federal courthouse.
Acting on an invite from Black Lives Matter, Wheeler addressed a crowd of thousands from the steps of the Justice Center as rioters booed him and demanded he resign, video footage showed.
During his brief speech, Wheeler vowed that he would stand with the mob “no matter what,” video footage showed.
“If they launch the tear gas against you, they are launching the tear gas against me,” Wheeler said.
The mayor denounced federal officers’ presence in the city of Portland, and reiterated that “they were not asked to be here.”
“They’re not wanted here,” Wheeler declared. “They’re not properly trained to be here, and we are asking them right this minute, we’re demanding that they leave! We demand that the federal government stop occupying our city!”
As the mayor spoke, a list of the rioters’ demands was projected onto a nearby building, The Oregonian reported.
The final item on the list was a demand that Wheeler resign.
One woman told Wheeler that he needed to order the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to fight alongside the rioters against the federal officers, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
“We need you to turn your team around,” she declared. “We need your team to join our team. I need you to get your whole team to stand here and do this with us.”
Another member of the group told the mayor that he either needed to join their side in the fight or “get out of the way,” Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
“Ted, you’re the mayor. You’re in charge. We’re fighting out here, and you’re not,” he said. “We need you to help us or get out of the way…If you don’t, it’s going to be four more years of hell. It’s going to be four more years of this. We’re going to be out here every night.”
When the mob demanded that he join them on the front lines outside the courthouse, he headed right on over.
Wheeler strapped on his goggles and stood idly by as rioters began violently shaking the protective fence just feet away from where he was standing, another video showed.
“Get the f–k out here!” one rioter yelled at the federal officers. “We f–king hate you!”
Wheeler was nearly hit by a flying object thrown by a rioter at one point during the night, and rioters used leaf blowers to blast air at him at other times, the videos showed.
The mayor squeezed his eyes shut and tried to use his hand to shield himself from tear gas deployed by federal officers, another video showed.
“How is that?” someone asked him as his handlers whisked him away.
“F–k you, Ted!” another rioter screamed when Wheeler and his security detail ducked into a nearby building.
Wheeler told The New York Times that the tear gas “stings,” and made it “hard to breathe.”
“I can tell you with 100 percent honesty – I saw nothing that provoked this response,” he claimed in another video. “It’s nasty stuff. I’m not afraid, but I am pissed off. This is an egregious overreaction on the part of the federal officers.”
According to the city’s own police officers, rioters threw Molotov cocktails and hundreds of other projectiles at the federal courthouse during the night, The Oregonian reported.
They set fires in various areas around the downtown area, and some members of the crowd breached the fence around the federal courthouse, police said.
Wheeler blamed the federal officers for the situation, and said they came in and “kicked a hornets’ nest.”
“This is not a de-escelation strategy,” the mayor opined. “This is flat-out urban warfare, and its being brought on the people of this country by the President of the United States.”
On Saturday night, a federal officer was injured after a rioter with a suspected “wrist rocket” fired a projectile at him, resulting in a laceration to the officer’s leg, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a press release.
The officer’s injury required sutures.
At least two other federal officers suffered injuries on Saturday night due to being assaulted by rioters, according to the DHS.
Federal Protective Service (FPS) Deputy Director of Operations Richard “Kriss” Cline said during a press conference on July 21 that at least three additional federal officers may have suffered permanent vision loss as a result of rioters flashing lasers into their eyes during the nightly riots, FOX News reported.
“We have three officers who currently have eye injuries and they may not recover sight in those eyes from those laser attacks,” Director Cline said.
Federal officers will now be issued anti-laser glasses to help protect them from the potential of permanent blindness, FOX News reported.