After Antifa Violence, Portland Mayor Denies ‘Stand-Down Order’ Was Given

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 2, 2019US News
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After Antifa Violence, Portland Mayor Denies ‘Stand-Down Order’ Was Given
Unidentified Rose City Antifa members beat up Andy Ngo, a Portland-based journalist, in Portland, Oregon, on June 29, 2019. (Moriah Ratner/Getty Images)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said that police were not told to stand down during clashes between Antifa and right-wing groups over the weekend.

Video footage showed journalist Andy Ngo and two older men severely beaten by members of Antifa, a far-left group with communist origins. Antifa’s members are known to dress in all black and obscure their faces with masks and bandannas.

In some instances, police officers stood nearby and didn’t intervene.

In the past, officials admitted that Portland Police Department officers stood by while Antifa members perpetrated violence in the heart of the city. But Wheeler said in a statement on July 1 that there was no order given to do so.

NTD Photo
Andy Ngo, a Portland-based journalist, is seen covered in unknown substance after being attacked by Antifa in Portland, Oregon, on June 29, 2019. (Moriah Ratner/Getty Images)

Without naming Patriot Prayer, the rightwing group that obtained a permit for their demonstration, or Antifa, which describes itself as antifacist and openly advocates for violence, Wheeler said that “Portland has always been a beacon of free speech. We are proud of that history.”

“But in the last couple of years, some have increasingly used their opportunity to exercise their 1st amendment rights, as an opportunity to incite violence. Over the weekend some chose to engage in violence in Portland, which is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said. “We stand against all forms of violence—regardless of someone’s political leanings. Portland police officers have the unenviable task of keeping the peace. It’s a difficult job and hard decisions are made in real-time.”

Wheeler said that an investigation is underway into the violence committed over the weekend, which included Ngo reportedly suffering a brain bleed and one of the older men suffering a concussion and four major lacerations. Video footage showed the attacks, which were carried out by Antifa. Photographers captured Ngo drenched in an unknown substance that police said may have been quick-drying cement, which causes chemical burns, and one of the other men with blood streaming down his face.

Warning: Footage contains graphic images.

Wheeler then hit out at Twitter users claiming there was a “stand-down order” given to police, writing: “Fact: There was no stand-down order.” One of the users he responded to was Ngo’s attorney, Harmeet Dhillon.

Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw also issued a statement that did not mention Antifa by name.

“The members of the Portland Police Bureau and our partner agencies worked diligently in difficult circumstances on Saturday in an attempt to keep the peace, then respond to violence perpetrated by some of the participants as the event devolved,” she said.

“These events are dynamic in nature and challenging to predict and manage. The acts of a select group of violent individuals do not define Portland, but do have a negative impact on all of us. We are determined to pursue every lead with the goal of arresting those who engaged in crimes and holding them accountable. The public should be aware of the time it takes to shift resources and address violence; it is not immediate and officers have to weigh many factors in their approach. Even with this approach, some of our law enforcement and community members were subject to pepper spray, projectiles, and assault, which is unacceptable and impeded our ability to assist others.”

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