PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Demonstrators clashed again in downtown Portland during a rally organized by the right-wing group Patriot Prayer to protest Mayor Ted Wheeler.
Organizer Joey Gibson told KOIN 6 News the march was a reaction to Wheeler’s response to a recent protest about the fatal shooting of Patrick Kimmons.
During that protest on October 7, a car that drove through the crowd was damaged when protesters started blocking his path and hitting the car. Police did not intervene but said they were monitoring the demonstration.
Gibson told KOIN 6 News his rally wasn’t Kimmons’ death, but the police response to protesters getting out of control.
“It’s unfortunate he lost his life, that’s not why we’re here,” Gibson said.
Gibson said the march Saturday was about the “lack of response from the mayor.”
During the demonstration, which lasted about two hours Saturday evening, members of Patriot Prayer as well as Proud Boys and antifa counter protesters had several fights in the streets.
Police warned the opposing groups of protesters to stay away from each other and out of the streets. Police also said they would confiscate weapons. At one point during the peak of the activity, police said they would not be available for non-emergency calls due to the resources assigned to the demonstrations.
Officers have observed people possessing hard-knuckled gloves, firearms, knives and batons at today’s demonstration. For the safety of the community and participants and based on behavior observed, weapons may be confiscated.— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) October 14, 2018
At a press conference Friday, Wheeler said there’s not a cookie cuter approach to law enforcement.
“This is the story of Goldilocks and the the [three] bears. The porridge is either too hot or too cold,” Wheeler said. “At any given moment in this city, the police are being criticized for being heavy handed and intervening too quickly or they’re being criticized for being standoffish and not intervening quickly enough.”
Patriot Prayer member Kirt Schweigert told KOIN it’s “disheartening that our law enforcement would back off.”
The group brought a large banner the says “Replace PDX Mayor.”
“He’s the one giving the orders to not get involved,” Schweigert said. “By not involving themselves, they’re letting people that want to cause trouble have free reign… How many people have been hurt because of lack of police involvement?”
Portland police said officers did use non-lethal riot control methods during the demonstration, including foam bullets. Police saw people with weapons and using pepper spray, but did not seize any.
Four people were treated for injuries related to assaults but no one was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Portland police also said no one was arrested.
The Facebook event page said this about the planned march:
Mayor Wheeler stands by while criminals block intersections and assault innocent bystanders who drive by. This isn’t political, it’s just wrong. It’s a lack of respect for not only the law but just other humans.