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Portland Mayor Admits Letting BLM & Antifa Rioters Run Wild Was a Mistake

Ted Wheeler says 'hands off' approach was 'not the right strategy'

 on 9th September 2021 @ 1.00pm
portland residents said they felt  terrorized and abandoned  during the riots © press
Portland residents said they felt 'terrorized and abandoned' during the riots

Portland's far-left mayor has admitted that his "hands-off" approach during last summer's civil unrest - that allowed Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters to run wild in the city - was a mistake.

On Wednesday, Mayor Ted Wheeler admitted it was "not the right strategy" to allow armed protesters to clash in the Oregon city on August 22, with no intervention from police.

Wheeler confessed he made the wrong decision during a Portland City Council meeting.

"It is clear, based on the public outcry, on the media outcry, on the national front, that that strategy was not the right strategy," Wheeler said, according to The Associated Press.

"I think we can all acknowledge that," the Democrat added.

"I take full responsibility for it."

mayor ted wheeler admitted his mistake portland city council meeting on wednesday © press
Mayor Ted Wheeler admitted his mistake Portland City Council meeting on Wednesday

He said Portland was still "trying to find the right recipe" for handling riots – seeking a solution somewhere between an "overwhelming police presence" and restrained law enforcement, the AP reported.

State lawmakers representing the northeast section of the city spoke out against the decision to keep police from intervening in the clash between crowds from the political left and right.

Local residents also claimed they felt "terrorized and abandoned" as rioters in helmets and gas masks – and some armed with baseball bats and chemical guns – confronted each other.

A spokesperson for the Portland Police Bureau said authorities monitored the clash from an airplane, the AP reported.

City officials warned the public in advance that police would not be intervening in the protest as a reaction to claims that police presence exacerbated crowd tensions. 

Wheeler claimed immediately afterward that the strategy was a success, with few reports of harm to the broader community or to property.

"With strategic planning and oversight, the Portland Police Bureau and I mitigated confrontation between the two events and minimized the impact of the weekend’s events to Portlanders," Wheeler said in an Aug. 23 statement

But the reaction from lawmakers and the public appeared to give Wheeler second thoughts about the approach. 

mayor wheeler allowed armed rioters to run wild in his city as residents felt  terrorized and abandoned © press
Mayor Wheeler allowed armed rioters to run wild in his city as residents felt 'terrorized and abandoned'

Past riots and protests that have resulted in injuries and property destruction have made the city open to trying new plans for dealing with such clashes, the mayor said.

"Portland is unique in that we seem to be ground zero for alt-right groups to come into our town because they know they’ll get a response – and they do," Wheeler said.

The mayor’s remarks came in advance of a city council vote on a $50,000 settlement relating to a woman’s claim that she had been injured at an Aug. 4 protest when police hurled a flash-bang munition at her with no warning, the AP reported.

The council approved the settlement in a unanimous vote, the report said.

[READ MORE] Dominion Engineer Told Antifa He'd 'Made Sure' Trump Wouldn't Win, Report Says

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