On Friday night, a group of Black Lives Matter protesters harassed Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s condo, chaining themselves together in the lobby and refusing to leave until he heard their demands. The sit-in coincided with numerous demonstrations protesting racial inequality and police brutality occurring throughout the Pearl district of downtown Portland, marking 93 straight nights of intense protests and riots.
Though no surprise, the protesters called for some incredibly radical decisions, including reducing the Portland Police Bureau budget, commiting to never voting for police budget increases again, abolishing the police bureau, and for the Democratic mayor to resign altogether.Â
â€śSpecifically, 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 replacement,â€ť the Portland group demanded. â€śThis timeline gives existing police officers ample time to find and train for alternative, meaningful work that benefits the community.â€ť
â€śFurthermore, we demand that the resources saved from the abolition of the Portland Police Bureau be reinvested into Black, Indigenous, and Brown communities, community-centered health and safety, and city services and programs that address the root causes of violence, crime, and inequality,â€ť the group added. â€śWe also demand that you â€“ with your extreme wealth, nepotistic career history, and family legacy that highlight you as a true embodiment of white supremacy â€“ resign from your position as the Police Commissioner and Mayor of Portland.â€ť
David Kahn, resident of the condo and former president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, attempted to appease protesters by offering a meeting on Monday, but they declined.Â
â€śIâ€™m certain that if he was here tonight we probably could have arranged for something, but heâ€™s not,â€ť Kahn said. â€śBut I know for a fact that is a standing policy for him.â€ť
Tim Becker, a spokesperson for Wheeler, did not confirm whether the mayor was at his home or not.
Outside the condo, demonstrations bent on preventing Wheeler from sleeping raged nearly all night, with protesters aiming strobe lights at his window and even a live metal band performing. Â Protesters painted bloody handprints on the windows of the lobby and constructed signs inscribed â€śSend Teddy to the Hague.â€ť Though security at the condo called the authorities, no police ever arrived.Â
Despite WheelerÂ’s overall compliance in the riots, even partaking in a ceremonious tear gassing along with the rioters, the revolution has come to eat its own. Wheeler may have tried to participating in a protest in July, only to be met by objects thrown at him, being labeled a â€śf***ing fascistÂ”, and â€śTear Gas Teddy!â€ť chants. Even when protesters harassed his apartment in June, eventually being declared an unlawful assembly, Wheeler could not bring himself to condemn the protests, nearly permitting their behavior. While cleaning up the trash left by the protesters, Wheeler brushed off the destruction by stating, â€śI live here, and these are my neighbors. And Iâ€™m sure theyâ€™re not very happy this morning. Theyâ€™re probably not very excited to be my neighbors at the moment.â€ť
As the commissioner of the police, Wheeler has full power to crack down on protests but has stood idly as riots tear his city apart and even participated in the carnage. He has turned down federal aid on numerous occasions, writing in an August 28th letter, Â“Yet again, you said you offered to aid Portland by sending in federal law enforcement to our city. On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks.Â”In full support of the chaos, Wheeler praised the Â“tens of thousands of Portlanders (who) have peacefully protested and marched for the noble cause of fixing our broken criminal justice systemÂ” and urged federal law enforcement officers to Â“stay away.Â”
President Trump has remained open on helping Portland, pleading to Wheeler, Â“They must stop calling these anarchists and agitators Â‘peaceful protesters.Â’ Come back into the real world! The Federal Government is ready to end this problem immediately upon your request,Â” in a statement. Yet Wheeler continues to bat away federal help that could put an end to the months of violence plaguing the city.
In spite of WheelerÂ’s squishy compliance, the rioters still have come for him. WheelerÂ’s full blessing to torment the city of Portland and abuse the police force on a nightly basis hasnÂ’t alleviated the protestÂ’s insatiable appetite for revolution in the slightest, highlighting a dangerous facet of radicalism and revolutions-there is no appeasement. There are no compromises. Either the system hands the revolution their fullest demands or the revolution burns down the system, leaving us with a single and simple solution-bring the mighty hammer of law and order upon violent riots.Â
Wheeler, in all of his naivety, still believes rioters can be satisfied civilly through political processes of democracy and compromise. He has bent a knee to the ravaging of his city, under the gullible impression letting the riots slide, no matter the cost, will gratify their demands. But, as the rioters once again come for him, their intent is obvious and how Wheeler doesnÂ’t realize the solution threatens innocent lives as the riots thrash the city of Portland. WheelerÂ’s abhorrent handling of the riots must set the precedent for cities plagued by violence. Law and order must be established or else become the new Portland.
Political Communications major at Illinois State University. Vince aut morire, my fellow patriots.