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Portland mayor voices excuse for rioters, says ‘years of systemic injustice’ are to blame

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Liberal Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland sanctioned the looting, rioting, and violence that has broken out around the country following the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, claiming that the destruction is justified because of “years of systemic injustice.”

“I wanted to share some of the difficult but necessary conversations I’ve had with friends, colleagues, and partners in our black community. We talked about the moment we are in – that the rioting we are seeing is a direct response to years of systemic injustice,” the Oregon mayor wrote on Twitter Sunday.

“We talked about agitation – yes even violent agitation and how it has historically occurred with purpose and resulted in change that has moved this country forward,” he continued. “We talked about educational disparities. Health disparities. Housing disparities. Employment disparities.

The mayor then claimed that “the black community” was being put at a growing disadvantage, without citing any evidence, adding “we must center the black community.”

“Black voices MUST be elevated when we are talking about impact, when we are talking about restorative justice, when we are talking about reconciliation, and when we are talking about healing,” Wheeler said, implying that somehow, ‘black voices’ are not being ‘heard’ currently.

Wheeler’s tweeted comments come after demonstrations protesting Floyd’s death on Friday and Saturday turned violent.

“During the march, buildings along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard were tagged with graffiti and windows to many businesses were smashed,” KGW8 reported, adding:

The demonstrators arrived at the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown Portland at around 11 p.m. It was around this time that Portland police declared the demonstration an unlawful assembly and told people to leave due to vandalism and a shooting connected to the protest. …

Shortly after the unlawful assembly declaration, a fire was set inside the justice center. Police said projectiles were being thrown at officers. More fires were set in downtown Portland, leading police to declare the demonstration a riot.

The report said rioters then moved to the Pioneer Place mall, looting businesses and continuing to damage property, forcing police to use flash-bang grenades, tear gas, and other force in order to quell the violence.

To be fair, Wheeler did condemn the violence in another tweet, noting that looting and burning businesses after many have been shut down for months due to coronavirus was “disgusting.”

Wheeler also implemented a curfew.

“I couldn’t be more disgusted with the people engaged in this activity,” he told KATU.

“ENOUGH. I had to leave Portland today because my mother is dying. I am with family to prepare for her final moments. This is hard, this is personal, but so is watching my city get destroyed,” he also tweeted.

That said, his messaging appears to be mixed — condemning the rioting on the one hand before condoning it after the fact.

Indeed, Portland-based investigative journalist Andy Ngo reminded Wheeler that he invited a speaker to an event last year in the city who endorsed the far-Left group Antifa, which was declared a terrorist organization on Sunday by President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, the destruction and rioting continued into Sunday in many cities, as mobs burned buildings, attacked people, and robbed stores, depriving people who had nothing at all to do with Floyd’s death.

National Guard units have been mobilized in more than a dozen states, according to reports.

Jon Dougherty

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