PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Several dozen demonstrators gathered outside of Portland City Hall on Friday afternoon to share their experiences with the Portland Police Bureau and demand changes.
The protest was in response to the hundreds of emails and texts released by the Portland Police Bureau Thursday night showing what seems to be a friendly relationship between Lt. Jeff Niiya and Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson.
“This was not a shock,” said demonstrator Star Stauffer. “So I came out to stand in solidarity with people of color being directly targeted by these hate groups and the Portland police.”
Luis Marquez was a protester who was directly referenced in several of the now-public text messages. He and his attorney John Scholosser held an impromptu press conference outside of City Hall, detailing their demands for police and the city. They called on officials to drop charges against arrested activists, demanded Mayor Ted Wheeler’s resignation as police commissioner and also demanded Niiya be suspended and terminated.
The newly released documents reveal that Niiya and Gibson sent each numerous texts and emails during 2017 and 2018, which is when multiple protests erupted between Patriot Prayer and Antifa.
In one of the texts, sent on Dec. 8, 2017, Niiya wrote to Gibson, “When you don’t get intimidated and show you care they do it no reason to do it. And yes I don’t think this will be a huge deal. I’m thinking it will be a lot like the last one. BTW, make sure Tiny has his court stuff taken care of. I was told on the radio at the Jamison Sq event he had a warrant. I told them we would not be arresting Tiny right now. So please be sure he’s good to go before coming down.”
Niiya is in charge of PPB’s rapid response team that responds to protests — raising questions about whether Portland Police helped Patriot Prayer avoid arrests.
Mayor Ted Wheeler called the exchanges “disturbing” and ordered Chief Danielle Outlaw to investigate the matter. She later released a statement saying she has directed an internal investigation.