UPDATED 4:40 PM PT – Saturday, January 2, 2021
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler assured law enforcement will push back harder against antifa anarchists following a riot that shook downtown Portland on New Years Eve.
In a news conference Friday, Wheeler called for tougher penalties against antifa radicals after members of the group attacked the city’s federal courthouse once again.
“My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical antifa and anarchists,” Wheeler stated. “In response it will be necessary to use additional tools and to push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end.”
Rioters allegedly caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage as they rampaged throughout downtown with graffiti, window breaking and fireworks.
Police said at least two Molotov cocktail-style firebombs were thrown as well as several commercial-grade fireworks launched at both the federal courthouse and justice center. Objects including bricks, large rocks and frozen water bottles were also thrown at officers.
“It was absolutely criminal in nature what was happening in the streets and even though a riot had been declared and people were ordered to disperse, it didn’t appear that anyone headed that direction,” Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said.
Portland authorities have grappled with violent protesters and almost daily protests since March, only briefly subsiding when federal troops arrived in July.
“To the people who commit acts of vandalism or violence, I have this to say, please stop,” Portland City Council Commissioner Mingus Mapps said.
The mayor said he is calling on federal, state, county and local law enforcement to develop better plans against anarchist violence, adding he’s calling on state legislature to increase penalties for repeat offenders. Wheeler said all involved should take responsibility for their actions.
“I believe people convicted of criminal destruction be required to meet with the employees and owners of the businesses that they damage,” Wheeler said. “These people need to hear and to understand the social and human consequences of their irresponsible actions.”