The incident in question occurred on Wednesday evening, August 5. During that night, the PPB declared the gathering at the East Precinct to be a riot, arrested eight people – only two of whom were confirmed to be Portland residents – and used tear gas after the aggressive mob tried to destroy the precinct. Much of the building was spray-painted and its glass doors shattered and barricade before rioters eventually tried to set it on fire while officers were still inside.
Wheeler came out strongly against these rioters even though he once stood in solidarity with them just two weeks prior; even subjecting himself to getting teargassed to virtue signal his supposed support for police accountability.
“When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder,” said Wheeler during a virtual news conference Thursday.
“I believe that city staff could have died last night,” he continued. “I cannot and will not tolerate that. This is not a peaceful protest. This is not advocacy to advance reform.”
Wheeler, who as mayor also acts as the city’s police commissioner, said that the PPB expects similar attacks to occur on other city properties in the nights to come. He has instructed the bureau to hold accountable any rioter caught in the act of trying to burn down or otherwise damage public property.
PPB Chief Chuck Lovell also denounced Wednesday night’s violence.
“We have people who are intentionally planning to go out and attack precincts,” said Lovell. “These senseless attempts to injure officers and destroy police facilities are reprehensible and need to stop. I feel that lives hang in the balance.” (Related: Portland Mayor and Portland Chief of Police should be arrested for being complicit in mob violence and terrorism against citizens.)
According to Capt. Tony Passadore, incident commander at the East Precinct on Wednesday night, there were 20 sworn PPB officers inside the building, along with a handful of other civilian employees. This means that had the rioters been able to set fire to the building, no fewer than 20 people could have died.
“I don’t want people to get confused to think that this was something related to Black Lives Matter,” Passadore said.
The captain, who has been an incident commander for 24 nights of the over 70 nights of rioting in Portland, wants people to know that there is a large difference between the peaceful protests and the riot that just occurred outside the East Precinct.
The siege of the East Precinct was organized by a group known as the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front (PNW-YLF), who used their social media accounts to advertise the riot and announced that there would be a “round two” the following evening. Their message ended with the slogan “No cops. No prisons. Total abolition.” Their advertisement also came with suggestions for rioters to wear black, stay hydrated and “be water and stick together.”
The phrase “be water” is a strategy that came from protesters in Hong Kong rising up against the encroaching communist Chinese state. The phrase characterizes the tactics these demonstrators should adopt. By “flowing like water,” protesters are called to remain spontaneous, flexible and evasive.
The PNW-YLF describes itself as a “decentralized network of autonomous youth collectives” that are using direct action to fight against the U.S. government to achieve “total liberation.” Several media outlets have reached out to them for comment, but they have not replied.
The siege of the East Precinct is at least the third time that organized groups of rioters have specifically targeted police precincts by barricading the doors and trying to set fire to the building. Other police buildings that were targeted are the North Precinct, which is situated in a historically Black neighborhood, and the PPB’s headquarters in downtown Portland. The headquarters of the city’s police union, which was located in a residential part of the city, was also the target of an arson attack.
Despite Wheeler calling them out, the Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters returned to the East Precinct building the next evening. During this gathering, which the PPB declared to be another riot, the demonstrators threw bottles and rocks and launched fireworks, injuring at least one police officer and causing significant damage to several police vehicles. The rioters, however, were again unsuccessful in their attempts to burn down the precinct.
In a press release published the next morning, the PPB said that the injured officer was “severely hurt” after a still-unidentified rioter threw a very large rock that hit the officer in the shoulder.
The rioting in Portland is escalating thanks to the withdrawal of federal law enforcement officers and the fact that local public officials are complicit in the criminal activity there. Learn about the latest events in this and other Antifa-infested cities across the country at Rioting.news.