Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler seemed to shun responsibility for allowing Antifa to freely roam the streets and commit violence in the city, insisting he always orders the police to “enforce the law.”
Wheeler, who’s been in office since January 2017, has been under fire for the rise of Antifa in his city, particularly after a June 29 protest that led to the violent assault of conservative journalist Andy Ngo.
“The game plan we've been using up to this point is no longer effective,” Wheeler told Oregon's FOX 12 about the violence on the streets.
“The game plan we've been using up to this point is no longer effective.”
Ngo was seen being kicked and doused with a milkshake during a clash between Antifa and members of the conservative group Proud Boys during the protest. As a result of the attack, Ngo said he suffered a brain hemorrhage.
Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner released a statement following the violent protest, blaming Wheeler for lack of enforcement and saying the mayor must “remove the handcuffs from our officers and let them stop the violence through strong and swift enforcement action.”
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, meanwhile, called for a federal investigation into Wheeler and his actions that may have allowed “domestic terrorists” to attack on Americans on the streets.
But Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner as part of the mayor’s office, denies he was responsible for lack of policing at the protest.
“I thought it was beneath a United States senator,” Wheeler told the outlet. “The truth is, I wasn't even here. I wasn't even in the United States. I was with my family in Ecuador on a wildlife tour.”
“One of the things I would like the public to know, is there is a unified incident command center that's engaged during these demonstrations,” he continued. “There is an incident commander, certainly the police chief.”
“The truth is, I wasn't even here. I wasn't even in the United States. I was with my family in Ecuador on a wildlife tour.”
He added: “I have never made a tactical decision and I most certainly did not on June 29th.”
Wheeler also claims that he never told Portland police not to enforce certain laws, on the contrary, he claims he explicitly asked to curb violence during protests.
“Enforce the law, don't let people commit acts of violence, don't let people shut down regional transit,” Wheeler said were among the directives. “Keep the city active and moving. Don't let people get onto the highways and do anything stupid.”