PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Black community leaders have condemned the actions of a group accused of threatening a Portland city commissioner.
Multnomah County and Unified Command spokesperson Chris Liedle said Commissioner Dan Ryan’s home was targeted Thursday night for the fourth time in a week. Liedle described the group as “agitators” who threw burning flares and paint-filled balloons, causing damage to the property. Law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly and arrested two people.
Commissioner-elect Mingus Mapps was among many Black leaders who joined a coalition condemning the acts.
“Mobs have been descending on his house in the middle of the night in order to intimidate him into voting the way they want,” Mapps said. “It happened again last night: a mob descended on his house, broke windows and sprayed paint on his home.”
Mapps went as far as to liken the actions of the group to the type of violence perpetrated against African Americans.
“I know what it’s like to wait up for the white mob to roll up on your house in the middle of the night because you have the audacity to vote or you have the audacity to hope,” he said.
Ryan himself responded to the vandalism on Friday, accusing the people attacking his home of “using the exact tactics they claim to be railing against—bullying and intimidation.” He urged them to hold one another accountable and “think before they act.”
“It is wrong, it should never occur and he is too good of a person to have been exposed to that,” said John Goodwin with the Portland Art Museum.
Black activist and community leader Ron Herndon said he considers the actions of the group targeting Ryan’s home to be a form of racism.
“We have primarily white people committing crimes and saying they are doing it under the banner of Black Lives Matter,” Herndon said. “This criminal activity has nothing to do with Black people with Black aspirations and the fight that we have for equality in this country.”
Herndon added he’d like to see the people responsible for those acts be criminally prosecuted. The coalition has invited the people responsible for targeting Ryan’s home to sit down and have a conversation with them.
Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church Pastor Matt Hennessee said it’s crucial for people to understand and accept the fact that opinions won’t always align.
“We have the opportunity to agree but we also have the opportunity to disagree and when we disagree, we have to learn how to disagree without falling out.”