PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mayor Ted Wheeler was blunt at a Thursday afternoon press conference.
“When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people that you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating,” he said, “You are attempting to commit murder.”
Wheeler and PPB Chief Chuck Lovell held a joint press conference after Portland police declared another riot after a mob attacked the East Precinct building, tore off boards, set fire to plywood using an accelerant, shattered the glass doors and blocked exits.
Eight people were arrested, including 2 from other states, Kentucky and Minnesota.
If you don’t want to be part of the intentional violence, the mayor said, stay away.
Lovell said this violence needs to stop.
“It’s not about a movement, it’s not about Black lives, it’s not about racial justice, it’s not about police reform,” the chief said. “It’s planned coordinated attacks on police officers and I feel like lives hang in the balance.”
Dealing with these protests and arsons hinders their ability to give Portland residents elsewhere the service they need and expect.
PPB did use tear gas and munitions to disperse the crowd Wednesday night after demonstrators shot fireworks and threw large rocks at officers.
Wheeler said they anticipate planned attacks on occupied public buildings over the next few days. And he also called those violent protesters “a prop.”
“Don’t think for a moment that if you are participating in this activity that you are not being used as a prop for the re-election campaign of Donald Trump. Because you absolutely are. You’re creating the B-roll film that will be used in ads nationally to help Donald Trump during this campaign. If you don’t want to be part of that, then don’t show up.”