Acting DHS secretary to Wheeler: ‘We are standing by’

2020 Protests

Letter is in response to Wheeler's recent letter to Trump

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Early Tuesday morning, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf released a copy of a letter he sent to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler over the ongoing unrest in the city.

He wrote, in part, “Due to a lack of action throughout the summer, Portland and its law-abiding residents continue to suffer from large-scale looting, arson, and vandalism — even killing.” He said in order to restore law and order, he urges Wheeler to “prioritize public safety and request federal assistance.”

“We are standing by to support Portland,” he wrote. “At the same time, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that there will come a point when state and local officials fail to protect its citizens from violence, the federal government will have no choice but to protect our American citizens.”

Wolf criticized Multnomah District Attorney Mike Schmidt in the letter as well, saying he encourages Wheeler to “work with and disabuse the District Attorney of Multnomah County of his refusal to prosecute individuals who have committed such crimes as: interference with a law enforcement officer, rioting, criminal trespass, second-degree disorderly conduct, escape, or a city ordinance violation. In short, ignoring criminal behavior is no way to protect the citizens of your community, the same citizens who entrusted you to hold elected office.”

Schmidt announced in early August his office would not prosecute certain crimes stemming from the ongoing nightly protests. The cases the office said it would not prosecute are ones where the most serious offense is a city ordinance violation or where the crime(s) do not involve deliberate property damage, theft or the use or threat of force against another person. 

Wolf’s letter is in response to one Wheeler sent to President Donald Trump just days ago — it also comes soon after one night of protests turned fatal.

One person was shot and killed near clashes between supporters of President Donald Trump and counterprotesters on Saturday night during a “Trump 2020 Cruise Rally” that started earlier in the afternoon in the Portland area.

KOIN 6 News witnessed two men yelling and having an altercation near SW 3rd and Alder around 8:45 p.m. Someone sprayed mace and then someone pulled out a gun. KOIN 6 News heard shots fired. A wounded man was seen on the ground and the suspect took off running, according to witnesses.

The man’s identity was confirmed as Aaron J. Danielson of Portland by the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office Monday. According to officials, the manner in which Danielson, 39, died was homicide and the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

On Monday night, a riot was declared and 19 arrests were made as a large crowd gathered outside Wheeler’s presumed residence in Portland’s Pearl District.

Full letter from Chad Wolf

This is a developing story. KOIN 6 News will update this when new information is available.

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