PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler admonished protesters on social media late Friday night as the city descended into chaos when peaceful demonstrations protesting police violence turned into a riot after marchers made it to the Multnomah County Justice Center.
“ENOUGH,” Wheeler wrote in all caps on Twitter just before midnight. The mayor added he was heading back to Portland after leaving the city earlier to be at the side of his dying mother.
“This is hard, this is personal, but so is watching my city get destroyed,” he wrote.
He added he will address the public with Portland police and other city leaders.
The mayor spoke with KOIN 6 News just before 2 a.m. Saturday, again condemning the night’s events, criticizing protesters for “dismantling our beloved communities in Portland, in Atlanta, in Minneapolis.”
“Burning the city does not honor the memory of George Floyd,” Wheeler said, calling the night’s violence “disgusting.”
Wheeler touched on his family situation, saying “it’s hard, it’s personal, but so is watching my city be destroyed.”
He praised earlier peaceful demonstrations. But he had nothing but scathing remarks for those responsible for the night’s downturn and looting of businesses.
“To the people responsible, I say enough,” Wheeler said. “They’re hurting the people who rely on these businesses for their livelihoods.”
Wheeler has faced criticism in the past for his response to previous violent protests.
On Friday night, thousands attended a peaceful vigil in Northeast Portland to remember George Floyd, a black man whose police custody death was caught on camera. A white office kneeled on his neck as he pleaded with him to let him breathe. The officer has since been fired and is now facing third-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
However, as the vigil turned into a march through the streets of Northeast Portland and crossed the river, KOIN 6 News crews witnessed some protesters vandalize buildings with graffiti. KOIN 6 News crews also witnessed the Justice Center being broken into before having a small fire set inside in addition to some protesters breaking into Pioneer Place and stealing from luxury retailers. Fires have also been set in the streets across downtown, including at least one vehicle.
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