,

Portland Commissioner: Police Are ‘Starting the Fires Themselves’

Portland Commissioner: Police Are ‘Starting the Fires Themselves’
Advertisements

Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty told Marie Claire she believes Portland Police are “starting the fires themselves” to justify “attacking community members.”

“I am old enough to remember that during the civil rights movement, the police had provocateurs … intentionally added to the group to do disruptive stuff,” the commissioner told Marie Claire in an interview published Wednesday.

“I have no doubt in my mind, I believe with all my heart, that that is what Portland police are doing,” she continued.

“I believe Portland Police is lying about the damage — or starting the fires themselves — so that they have justification for attacking community members,” Hardesty added.

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell responded to Hardesty’s claim —  that police officers are committing acts of arson to justify “attacking” protesters — and challenged her to provide evidence of the “completely false” suggestion.

“Commissioner Hardesty’s statement that police officers would commit the crime of arson in order to precipitate their violation of people’s civil rights strains credulity,” Lovell said. “I am interested in seeing what evidence she has to support her accusations.”

“I’m disappointed that an elected official would make a statement like this without providing specific facts to support it. This allegation is completely false,” he added:

Commissioner Hardesty’s statement that police officers would commit the crime of arson in order to precipitate their violation of people’s civil rights strains credulity. I am interested in seeing what evidence she has to support her accusations.

— Chief Chuck Lovell (@ChiefCLovell) July 22, 2020

In regard to statements about the media– we value our relationships with media. We want to ensure they are able to exercise their rights and do their jobs. PPB continues to comply with the judge’s temporary restraining order.

— Chief Chuck Lovell (@ChiefCLovell) July 22, 2020

Hardesty also accused Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chad Wolf — who explained this week that federal law enforcement officers were sent to curb “violent criminal activity every single night for 52 nights” after city officials failed to quell the unrest — of lying.

“That is a blatant lie,” she said. “It is a lie that 45 keeps tweeting out, that he came in and somehow fixed Portland.”

“If he’s fixed Portland, why are [federal agents] still brutalizing people every night?” Hardesty continued.

“Because if you can intimidate and silence Portland, which has a long history of direct action protest, then what [do] you think will happen in Mississippi and Louisiana and all the other places?” she asked.

Wednesday marked night 56 of riots in Portland as demonstrators attacked the federal courthouse, prompting a response from federal law enforcement. While Portland Police did not engage with demonstrators, they declared a riot after midnight, although the declaration did little to disperse the crowd:

Emboldened by police hatred stoked by the city, rioters attack a @PortlandPolice vehicle giving off audio warnings. #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/nJX8LxyKuI

— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020

According to the Portland Police Bureau, demonstrators threw Molotov Cocktails and “hundreds of projectiles” at the federal courthouse. PPB said “multiple vandalisms occurred including fire hydrants which were opened wasting several hundred gallons of water into the street.”

Rioters have set fire to the Portland federal courthouse. #PortlandRiots #antifa pic.twitter.com/1BZrPpv2fd

— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020

Federal law enforcement are pelted with projectiles every time they make an arrest at the Portland federal courthouse. #PortlandRiots #antifa pic.twitter.com/WOIytj5G3v

— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020

Rioters outside the Portland federal courthouse accidentally set their comrade on fire with a flammable device. #antifa #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/PLQbumM7fT

— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020

An arson attack on the Portland federal courthouse. #antifa #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/WOd8QrMWZK

— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020

.@tedwheeler says, “I saw nothing that provoked this response” when asked about his thoughts on federal law enforcement deploying tear gas.

The building had been set on fire and rioters were throwing explosives. #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/M21iOcDfLa

— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020

Area businesses have lost at least $23 million due to the violent protests in the city, according to authorities.

The Portland City Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday, effectively banning the Portland Police from cooperating with federal authorities.

Read More