Acting National Security Secretary Chad Wolf accused Portland’s Democratic leadership of allowing the “mob” of “violent anarchists” to take over public places and buildings in the U.S. city by force for more than six weeks.
“The city of Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city,” Wolf said in a statement released Thursday.
“Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it.”
The city of Oregon was thrown into chaos after the death of an African-American community member, George Floyd, in Minneapolis on May 25, at the hands of local police.
However, a Fox News report describes that while other cities saw demonstrations that eventually died down, in Portland, they have continued for more than a month and a half, causing a wave of violence in the streets and destruction of private property rarely seen.
Millions in losses
According to the local media The Oregonian, local businesses have reported losses of approximately $23 million.
Most of that figure is the result of looting and riots in the city center.
The Portland news site describes how protesters were seen setting fire to mattresses and setting off fireworks in the streets.
Protesters have also set up tents in the park near the federal courthouse.
They have also set up barricades in the streets to create their own “autonomous zone,” as happened in Seattle (which has now been dissolved).
In early July, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) coordinated operations with other law enforcement agencies, such as the Sheriff’s Service, Federal Protective Service, and Customs and Border Protection, to establish rotating law enforcement services in the city in an attempt to quell violence and protect federal property.
However, local politicians, belonging to the Democratic Party, opposed the move.
As part of this effort, DHS released a list of nearly 100 violent incidents caused by what the federal agency described as “violent anarchists.”
The extensive sequence of events describes how rioters have attacked law enforcement with hammers, lasers, slingshots, and fireworks in recent days. Others were armed with sledgehammers, tasers, and “flaming debris.”
The attacks on federal buildings like the Palace of Justice are also detailed.
However, Democratic officials have focused on the law enforcement response to the mob.
Senator Ron Wyden, D-Minnesota, wrote to Wolf and Attorney General William Barr this week complaining that a protester was hit in the head by crowd control ammunition.
“This politically driven federal response is intolerable,” Wyden said.
Meanwhile, Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler said Wolf called him on Tuesday to talk about the ongoing violence and how the government could help.
Wheeler tweeted what he told Wolf: “My biggest immediate concern is the violence federal officers brought to our streets in recent days, and the life-threatening tactics his agents use.”
“We do not need or want their help,” he said.
But Wolf said federal agents have no intention of retreating as long as the violence continues on the streets. He called on local officials to enforce the law and take “appropriate action.”
“Instead of addressing violent criminals in their communities, local and state leaders are instead focusing on placing blame on law enforcement and requesting fewer officers in their community,” Wolf said.
He said that “this siege can end if state and local officials decide to take appropriate action instead of refusing to enforce the law.
“This failed response has only emboldened the violent mob as it escalates violence day after day.”
Looking ahead, Wolf said DHS “will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them.
“Again, I reiterate the Department’s offer to assist local and state leaders to bring an end to the violence perpetuated by anarchists,” he concluded.