Portland, OR – The mayor of Portland said the city’s police union president “crossed a line” when he called on the mayor to “remove the handcuffs from our officers” and let them do their jobs in the wake of violent protests on Jun. 29.
Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner held nothing back in a statement he released following the black-masked antifa melee that left eight people injured, including three police officers, KATU reported.
“Where are the voices condemning the lawlessness and violence?” Turner asked.
“If this violence had been directed at Antifa, there would have been an immediate call for an independent, outside investigation. This is a perfect example of Portland politics at work and why our great City is now under fire in the national news,” Turner Said
“The Mayor, our Police Commissioner, is not allowed to use the rank and file officers of the Portland Police Bureau as a shield to deflect Portland’s negative press nationwide,” the union leader continued. “As we have said before and will continue to say: Police officers work to uphold the Constitution, including the right to free speech. It’s our job to ensure that our community can peacefully protest without fear of violence but right now our hands are tied.”
“It’s time for our Mayor to do two things,” Turner wrote, “tell both ANTIFA and Proud Boys that our City will not accept violence in our City and remove the handcuffs from our officers and let them stop the violence through strong and swift enforcement action. Enough is enough.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was furious that media outlets reported he had ordered Portland Police Bureau officers to stand down and denied the poor management of the chaos was his fault, Willamette Week reported.
“By his releasing that statement, he contributed to the misinformation and the noise,” Wheeler said. “I don’t think he did the Police Bureau any favors. I don’t think he did the men and women who serve in the Police Bureau any favors, and he certainly didn’t do me any favors.”
The mayor said that Turner’s statement had contributed to a “global frenzy” of right-wing criticism that included a demand for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the mayor by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“To law enforcement: find & prosecute these violent felons,” Cruz tweeted on June 30, the morning after the violent protests.
“To federal law enforcement: investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who has, for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists,” he added.
Wheeler defended his handling of the protest, which happened while he was overseas, and said he never ordered his officers to take a hands-off approach with the black-masked antifa protesters, Willamette Week reported.
“This became a global phenomenon,” Wheeler told reporters at a press conference on Monday. “They came back to his message as proof that I had, in fact, handcuffed the police during the June 29 demonstration.”
He pledged to be more aggressive in dealing with the street brawls becoming more common between demonstrators in his city and said his approach to policing was to allow the professionals to run things, according to Willamette Week.
“The public needs to hear that the Police Bureau law enforcement professionals were in charge, not the mayor,” the mayor said.
This not the first time that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has been in the hot seat for the way his city manages violent protests led by black-masked antifa determined to draw blood from conservative demonstrators.
In October of 2018, protesters and antifa took over city streets in Portland and blocked traffic, threatened drivers, and damaged an elderly man’s vehicle.
In all of the cell phone videos of the mayhem, Portland police were either absent or simply standing by watching the chaos unfold before them.
Portland Police Bureau Chief Danielle Outlaw has called for laws to ban demonstrators from wearing masks during protests in the city.