News & Politics

Hellhole Portland: Defunded Police Were Too Busy With Shootings to Stop Antifa Rioters

Hellhole Portland: Defunded Police Were Too Busy With Shootings to Stop Antifa Rioters
AP Photo/Noah Berger

On Saturday night, a mob of antifa rioters ravaged the Pearl District of Portland, smashing windows and spray-painting anti-police messages on businesses, including a Safeway, a Starbucks, and a Chipotle, among others. Police resources to deal with the riot had been strained by multiple shootings in the city that same evening.


Rioters terrorized at least one person still inside the Chipotle when they attacked the building. Rioters spray-painted “ACAB,” which stands for “all cops are bastards,” on the location.

Rioters also smashed the window of a Starbucks.

Businesses dispatched workers to board up buildings in the middle of the night.

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) explained that few officers were available to deal with the rioters due to multiple shootings across the city.

“Police response was constrained by multiple shooting incidents happening across the city, limiting the officers available to address the criminal behavior in the protest. Still, officers responded to the criminal behavior and made two arrests. Items that could be used as weapons were seized, including a large bat,” PPB reported in a news release.


The riot began at about 9 p.m. Pacific and lasted over two hours. Police warned the rioters over the loudspeaker with this message:

To those marching in the Pearl District: Officers have observed and community members have reported members of this group have damaged buildings in the Pearl District. Immediately stop participating in criminal behavior including damaging property. Failure to adhere to this order may subject perpetrators to detention, citation, arrest, or use of crowd control agents, including, but not limited to, tear gas and/or impact weapons. Immediately stop participating in criminal activity.

The news release went on to explain that “while tear gas use is currently restricted, state law requires that warning be given.”

In other words, Portland’s laws require that police warn rioters that officers may use tear gas against them, even though Portland’s current regulations prevent the use of tear gas.

Police arrested one adult and one teenager. “The adult was issued a criminal citation and released (due to current COVID-19 restrictions for booking at the Multnomah County Detention Center). The juvenile was released to his parents and will be given a future hearing date,” the release explained.

Last June, the Portland City Council voted to cut at least $15 million from the police budget, eliminating 84 positions.

On February 27, when police faced three separate shootings and a violent antifa riot, the department’s resources were stretched too thin to protect private property and keep the peace in the Pearl District, where Mayor Ted Wheeler once lived before antifa pushed him out. The Black Lives Matter movement demanded the defunding of police, and Portland complied. As a result, antifa violence has gotten worse, not better.


Funny how that works. It’s almost like appeasing the mob is a bad strategy for law and order.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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