On the ninety-third night of violent antifa riots in Portland, a group of protesters occupied the lobby of Mayor Ted Wheeler’s (D-Portland) apartment building as a mob held a block party outside and activists shined strobe lights into Wheeler’s window. The mob demanded the complete abolition of the police by 2022. Meanwhile, a group of rioters set fire to the Portland Police Association building, targeting the police union for what appears to have been the fourth time since the police killing of George Floyd. This unrest came the day after Wheeler sent a letter to President Donald Trump, declining his offer to send federal officers.
Protesters entered the lobby of the apartment building and sat down on the floor. An apartment security officer told them, “I’m sorry, you can’t be in here. This is private property.” The protesters responded, “This is a non-violent demonstration.”
BREAKING: Activists occupy Portland mayor Ted Wheeler’s apartment and aren’t leaving until he: resigns, abolishes the police by 2022 with no tech or private replacement, and allots saved resources to BIPOC communities and city services. #TearGasTed #AbolishPPB #WheelerResign pic.twitter.com/V5NsRG9tH3
— Rising Tide NA (@RisingTideNA) August 29, 2020
The activists published a letter to Wheeler listing their demands. They demanded that the mayor “Reduce the Portland Police Bureau budget, Commit to never voting for police budget increases again, and Resign.”
“Specifically, we demand that you and your fellow city leaders immediately develop a task force to plan for a 50% reduction of the Portland Police Bureau budget by 2021, and a complete abolition of the Portland Police Bureau by 2022, with no private or technological replacements. This timeline gives existing police officers ample time to find and train for alternative, meaningful work that benefits the community,” the letter states.
Meanwhile, a large group of protesters blocked the street in front of the building and started playing loud music and dancing.
— Garrison Davis (Teargas Proof) (@hungrybowtie) August 29, 2020
The block party atmosphere continued late into the night, harassing people whose only crime was to live in the same apartment building as Ted Wheeler. According to Andy Ngo, editor-at-large at The Post Millennial, protesters flashed strobe lights into the mayor’s window. A local author said they were “search lights.”
Antifa and BLM are flashing strobe lights into @tedwheeler’s condo building in NW Portland. They’re also hosting a metal concert on the street, blocking the road. In the condo lobby, occupiers have chained themselves together demanding he resign. pic.twitter.com/pdP7CUzUnf
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 29, 2020
Antifa Rioters Break Into Portland Police Union and Set It on Fire as Mayor Hamstrings Federal Troops
Meanwhile, at the police union…
Across town, antifa rioters marched to the police union wearing helmets, goggles, gas masks, and black clothing. They also carried shields. The mob arrived at about midnight, blocking traffic and cutting the power line to the building, the police reported. The police union building is in a residential neighborhood. Ngo suggested that the protesters harassing Wheeler’s apartment complex had moved on to attack the police union.
Rioters wheeled dumpsters into the road and lit at least one of them on fire. Then they proceeded to pile up debris, including a large mattress, against the front door of the building. Rioters sprayed accelerant on the mattress and lit it on fire. “The flames appeared to engulf the front door area of the building and nearly reach the roofline,” police reported. The cops declared the arson attack a riot and moved the rioters away from the building in order to extinguish the fire. As the cops moved into action, “rioters threw objects at them, including rocks.” Antifa rioters struck multiple officers with rocks, causing minor injuries.
The police explained that they leapt into action because the police union is in a residential neighborhood. They expressed concern “that any building fire could spread to occupied homes, especially during the current stretch of dry weather.”
The arsonists damaged the front of the building, and police recovered a bottle containing a flammable liquid.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 29, 2020
Chickens coming home to roost?
As the protesters occupied the lobby of Wheeler’s apartment building and shined lights into his window, former biology professor Bret Weinstein tweeted, “Dear Ted Wheeler, Your chickens are not yet home to roost, but they are in the lobby.”
Dear Ted Wheeler,
Your chickens are not yet home to roost, but they are in the lobby.
— Bret Weinstein (@BretWeinstein) August 29, 2020
This seems a rather apt summary of the situation. As PJ Media’s Jeff Reynolds reported on Friday, Wheeler released an open letter to President Donald Trump, declining the president’s offer to send federal law enforcement to help restore order in the Rose City.
“We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery,” Wheeler sneered. He claimed that federal officers only “made the situation far worse” in July. Then he attempted to blame Trump for the looting, vandalism, and arson. Yes, seriously.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) August 28, 2020
“There is no place for looting, arson, or vandalism in our city. There is no room here for racist violence or those who wish to bring their ideology of hate into our community. Those who commit criminal acts will be apprehended and prosecuted under the law,” he wrote, as if violent riots had not continued for 92 nights under his watch and as if federal law enforcement, not antifa, were the cause of violence on the streets of Portland.
During the riots at the federal courthouse in July, Wheeler himself joined the rioters. After federal law enforcement used tear gas as the crowd attempted to burn down the building, the mayor insisted that the use of tear gas was completely unprovoked, even though rioters standing feet from Wheeler in the crowd had thrown explosives at the building.
Protesters should not harass public officials — and their neighbors — at their homes, but in a very real sense, the harassment directed at Ted Wheeler does represent the mayor’s chickens coming home to roost.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.