PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler addressed Sunday night’s riot–deemed “Day of Rage” by protesters–saying the criminal activity and destruction was not an act of social justice.
“It’s unfortunate yesterday that a group of individuals acting under what they described as ‘The Indigenous People’s Day of Rage,’ co-opted an otherwise peaceful opportunity for education and reflection and celebration of the achievements, the accomplishments of the Native American community,” Wheeler said Monday during a press conference in Portland. “And instead, engaged in criminal acts of destruction here in Portland.”
A riot was declared downtown Sunday night after demonstrators reportedly smashed the windows out of several buildings, according to Portland police. The protest-turned-riot unfolded on the eve of Columbus Day, however, in the City of Portland Monday is also known as Indigenous Peoples Day after a declaration was passed in 2015.
“I think the most important thing we can do as a community right now is make it clear that if you are in our community and you are engaged in violence or criminal destruction, you are not standing with us,” said Wheeler. “You are opposing us. You are working against our values and our sensibilities as a city.”
The Mayor added that there were many instances of people bragging about the destruction on social media late last night and Monday morning. Wheeler said their actions were an attack on institutions that support the oppressed people protesters are defending.
“[Violent protesters] are not engaged in any activity that has any relationship whatsoever to racial justice or equity,” the mayor said. “They are purely engaged in violence and criminal destruction for the sake of violence and criminal destruction. And, the more we call them out [and] the more we shine a light on them and the more that we hold them accountable when they are arrested […] that will take some of the impetus out of their nightly activities.”
Multiple statues were spray-painted and toppled in the park blocks Sunday night. The windows and glass doors to the Oregon Historical Society were smashed out.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell also spoke at Monday’s presser. He detailed some of the criminal activity that took place Sunday night, which included the removal of multiple statues.
“As the group [of protesters] came into the Southwest Park blocks, they put straps and chains around the Teddy Roosevelt statue and pulled it down using a vehicle,” Lovell said. “According to Portland Parks & Recreation, that statue has been there for almost a century. The crowd then turned its attention to the Abraham Lincoln statue and Park and Madison — that statue dates back to 1928 and was also pulled down the ground.”
Lovell also described the damage done to the Oregon Historical Society, Portland State University’s Public Safety building — as well as a gunfire aimed at nearby restaurant that left multiple bullet holes. Several windows were broken at another restaurant, a coffee shop and a bank as well, according to Lovell.
“We are five months into this and we still have a fairly high level of violence taking place,” the chief said. “We need to all come together and be mindful of what we want as a city [and] what we’re willing to tolerate. These events, late at night, they purport to have a racial justice nexus, but they’re not that. They’re about violence and criminal destruction and they’re really hurting our community. We all deserve better.”
Kerry Tymchuk of the Oregon Historical Society said though a majority of the collection of artifacts and other historical heirloom items were not damaged, an African-American heritage, bicentennial quilt was taken and later found several blocks away. Tymchuk said the quilt was “very wet” but was hopeful it could be displayed again, calling it a “priceless piece of history.”
Oregon Representative Tawna Sanchez also spoke to the damage caused by rioters.
“The violence doesn’t work for us,” said Sanchez. “We know that during the time of Standing Rock, the elders told us that the violence was not going to help.
“We also know, just in reality here, that we cannot tear down the system using fire or rocks or destruction and then build it back up from nothing.”
In total, three arrests were made following Sunday’s violence.
A riot had been declared downtown Sunday night after demonstrators reportedly smashed the windows out of several buildings, according to Portland police. The protest-turned-riot unfolded on the eve of Columbus Day, however, in the City of Portland Monday is also known as Indigenous Peoples Day after a declaration was passed in 2015.
Multiple statues were spray-painted and toppled in the park blocks. The windows and glass doors to the Oregon Historical Society were smashed out.
It is still unclear how many people were arrested overnight.
Trump tweets, Iannarone reacts
Early Monday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted multiple times about the overnight damage in Portland.
Nearly 20 minutes later, Trump once more posted about the FBI, antifa and “poorly run Democratic cities.
“The FBI and Law Enforcement must focus their energy on ANTIFA and the Radical Left, those who have spent the summer trying to burn down poorly run Democrat Cities throughout the USA!”
Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone reacted to the riot on Monday as well. Her office sent the following statement:
“Public access to art is vital to our city’s cultural fabric. I condemn all acts of violence and destruction, especially those targeting public art. As your next Mayor, I’m ready to talk about how we move this city forward, from rethinking public safety to changing names and removing statues. If someone would like a statue removed, they can engage our public process to register that complaint and I’ll push City Council to listen and act swiftly. Our systems of government have long ignored problematic symbols and impacts of institutional racism, I am committed to changing that as mayor. People are hurting and that pain is valid. But anonymous acts of destruction outside of any agreed-upon process are toxic, unaccountable behavior that has no place in our city. We are not going to be governed by shooting paintballs. That’s not democracy, nor is it fair to those of us who believe in our public process.”