Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler sought public support over the weekend in “unmasking” and identifying members of the self-proclaimed “anarchist mob” that have persistently launched riots since last summer — triggering public unrest and costing the city millions.
The Democratic mayor also extended a city-wide state of emergency which he declared earlier last week, ahead of the verdict in the George Floyd case involving former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, anticipating that a possible “not guilty” verdict would send another wave of destruction in the city.
Chauvin was ultimately found “guilty” of murder and manslaughter after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during a confrontation with the Black Minneapolis man last year and faces up to 40 years in prison.
“The Democrat extended a state of emergency in Portland through Monday amid concerns about potential unrest following the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer found guilty on all charges for the death of George Floyd. The Portland mayor asked the public to come forward with any information on members of the anarchist group,” Fox News said.
Wheeler goes after “self-described anarchist mob”
“The city is beginning to recover, but self-described anarchists who engage in regular criminal destruction don’t want things to open up, to recover,” Wheeler reportedly told Portland residents.
“They want to prevent us from doing the work of making a better Portland for everyone. They want to burn, they want to bash.”
With window-smashing protests ongoing, Portland is pursuing a crackdown.
Mayor Ted Wheeler says he wants to "unmask" demonstrators and "make it hurt them a little bit" — comments that have outraged racial justice and civil rights advocates.t.co/tU3TOcYQoc
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) April 27, 2021
Wheeler’s latest comments come as he backed efforts in June to divert millions from Portland law enforcement amid mainstream calls that time to “defund the police” — a decision he reversed in March to address the spike in shooting incidents across the city.
In what seems like more proof of siding with law enforcement this time, the Democratic mayor said on Friday that he supports Portland police using all “legal strategies” to handle the riots, adding that the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement “has already stepped forward to denounce the destruction.”
Wheeler said he is now seeking assistance from the city’s residents to turn in to authorities, friends and neighbors they believe to be part of the “self-described anarchist mob.”
“Our job is to unmask them, arrest them and prosecute them,” he said, as the Democratic mayor enjoined the public to contact the police, provide them information about the rioters, report their license plate numbers or take evidence of them committing such acts, according to a separate Washington Post report.
“We must stand together as a community against this ongoing criminal intimidation and violence,”Wheeler added.. “We’re doing what we can today. I’m also asking for your help to make a stand and take our city back.”
“People know who these criminals are,” Wheeler continued. He went on to say that Portland “needs” to return to normal so the people can go back to work, and businesses could reopen.
A few hours after Mayor Wheeler’s remarks, violence broke out again in Portland.
A group of about 50 people are marching through NW Portland. One Starbucks had its windows smashed at NW 23rd/Overton pic.twitter.com/PCqEP1wlNG
— Drew Marine (@DrewCMarine) April 24, 2021
— Drew Marine (@DrewCMarine) April 24, 2021
Last June, Portland police estimated that a month of nightly protests had cost the city at least US$6.2 million with Police Chief Chuck Lovell saying then that this does not include other pays associated with officers who were reassigned to the demonstrations from other areas.
Across the US, BLM-related protests — which spread across 2,000 cities nationwide and in over 60 countries last summer — the vandalism, looting and damage related to the riots reportedly cost the insurance industry “at least $1 billion to $2 billion”— or more than any other violent demonstrations in recent history, according to an Axios report then.
Businesses plea for help, say skyrocketing crime is killing business
Meanwhile, in businesses near the area where George Floyd was killed last year — now known as “George Floyd Square” — are also seeking financial help citing how the “increased crime rate” in their neighborhood has also dragged businesses to the ground.
Business owners reportedly resorted to GoFundMe to beg for assistance as patch revenue losses of over 75% reiterating that businesses are struggling to survive in the area.
In the GoFundMe page set up, business owners explained the dire crime situation around George Floyd Square.
“Another unintended consequence of the occupation of 38th and Chicago is the rise in crime that has had a profound effect on these businesses. Following the killing of George Perry Floyd Jr. and the reduction of the Minneapolis Police Department, there has been uncontrollable crime in this city,” it said.
“Carjackings have nearly tripled and cars and catalytic converters are being stolen at high rates. Reports of bullets whizzing through the streets, businesses, innocent unintended residence homes, into cars and walls are plentiful. There is constant gunfire day and night, through all seasons despite the belief that winter would slow crime and gunfire it has not! In fact these Black businesses have suffered a similar fate having windows shot out from random gunfire, cars stolen, customers not patronizing businesses due to fear of violence in the neighborhood and throughout the city,” it added.
Walking into George Floyd Square pic.twitter.com/jIDzBNicVw
— Jorge Ventura Media (@VenturaReport) April 21, 2021
“Black merchants near the once-thriving corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue said police have abandoned the blocked-off intersection, creating a dangerous autonomous zone that has seen crime spike and business evaporate,” The New York Post reported.