Portland’s black city commissioner demands white mayor give her control over police

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As Portland continues to spiral out of control with nightly demonstrations marked by the destruction of property and violence against local police and federal agents, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty blasted Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler and implored him to give her control of the Portland Police Bureau.

Hardesty’s demand comes as allegations of police brutality against Black Lives Matter demonstrators rise and claims that the local department is cooperating with federal agents who have detained suspects in recent days.

“I’ve had enough,” Hardesty said in a statement directed at the mayor, who has also come out against the Trump administration and the deployment of federal agents in the city. “If you can’t control the police, give me the Portland Police Bureau.”

“Last evening the best of Portland was on full display,” Hardesty said her statement. “Portlanders came out to exercise our constitutional right to free speech and peaceful assembly.

“This was a united call to end the occupation of our city by federal troops and demanding an end to the aggressive violence being perpetrated on our city by both federal troops and the Portland Police,” she continued.

“We had impassioned speakers sharing a variety of perspectives and opinions,” her statement noted further. “We lit candles. We sang. We danced with the incredibly talented Portland Hip Hop community. We talked about the work ahead and how we are going to re-imagine community safety.”

While many overnight demonstrations were indeed peaceful, elements of the crowd continued their now-nightly ritual of destroying public property and besieging federal officers charged with protecting the Hatfield Federal Courthouse, as numerous videos indicate.

Local investigative journalist Andy Ngo, who has specialized in reporting Antifa-anarchy violence and destruction, posted several videos of the destruction and lawlessness to his Twitter account Saturday night.

Portland police, who are also under siege, were again forced to declare a riot and clear streets after the Portland Police Association building was set ablaze.

At one point, federal agents deployed a number of crowd control devices to push back lines of demonstrators encroaching on the courthouse.

After rioters began dismantling fences set up around parks and the federal courthouse, police moved in to clear areas of disruption and mounting chaos.

After police warned demonstrators to disburse, a few left but most people remained in the areas as the protests grew more intense. Police finally declared an unlawful assembly around 1:30 a.m., according to KOIN.

Several protesters were arrested around 2:00 a.m., local reports said after they refused to leave.

In her statement, Hardesty said that her “heart was full of love and inspiration towards every single person that came out,” but those feelings were disrupted by the police response.

“[W]hile hip hop artists were still performing, while my staff, speakers, and attendees I love were still on the ground–there was another unprovoked brutal attack by our federal government,” she said, apparently oblivious to the chaos. “Later that evening, Portland Police once again joined in the aggressive clampdown of peaceful protest.”

Hardesty, the city’s first black commissioner, then directed her ire again at Wheeler.

“Mayor Wheeler, I’m sick of writing these statements day after day,” she said in her statement. “We know that Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner met with DHS Secretary Chad Wolf. We know Portland Police are collaborating with this federal occupying force.

“You are putting our community in danger. You are putting my staff in danger. We need you to be better. We need you to stop denying the violence being perpetrated by our own police force and make it clear and unambiguous,” she continued.

“Portland police are directed from the top to never collaborate with 45’s goon squad, to take off their riot gear, and to stop contributing to the violence that was occurring before the feds arrived and still continues night after night,” she said.

Her demand for control over the Portland Police Bureau came as an editorial in The Oregonian, the city’s major daily newspaper, expressed doubt that Wheeler was genuinely opposed to the presence of federal agents in the city.

For his part, Wheeler announced via Twitter on Saturday that he ordered federal officials out of spaces co-occupied with city police for the purposes of facilitating better cooperation.

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Jon Dougherty

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