Portland Mayor Says He Was in Ecuador When Antifa Assaulted Journalist, Others

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 25, 2019USshare
Portland Mayor Says He Was in Ecuador When Antifa Assaulted Journalist, Others
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in a file photo. (Natalie Behring/Getty Images)

The mayor of Portland said that the backlash city officials have faced over the daylight assaults conducted by members of the far-left Antifa group was unfair, noting “I wasn’t even here” at the time.

After journalist Andy Ngo and at least two other men were beaten by Antifa on June 29, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called for legal action against Ted Wheeler, the mayor of the Oregon city, alleging Wheeler, “for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists.”

In a new interview, Wheeler said he was overseas on the day of the clashes between Antifa and conservative groups.

“I thought it was beneath a United States senator,” Wheeler told Fox 12. “The truth is, I wasn’t even here. I wasn’t even in the United States. I was with my family in Ecuador on a wildlife tour.”

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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)
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Rose City Antifa brutally attacked an unidentified man at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Oregon on June 29, 2019. (Moriah Ratner/Getty Images)

After the Antifa assaults, Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner said in a strong statement that Wheeler needs to “remove the handcuffs from our officers and let them stop the violence through strong and swift enforcement action.”

Wheeler said he and other city officials have felt the criticism leveled at them after the violence, telling the broadcaster: “It definitely lit the powder keg. Every one of my team members was threatened by violence.”

“The game plan we’ve been using up to this point is no longer effective,” he added. Wheeler previously denied giving a “stand-down” order.

Antifa members are able to get away with violence in some cases because they heavily obscure their faces using bandanas and other materials.

Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw called for an anti-mask law in the city after the assaults, saying: “We cannot allow people to continue to use the guise of free speech to commit a crime. A lot of people are emboldened because they know they can’t be identified.’’

Wheeler told Fox 12 that he’s considering proposing an anti-mask ordinance before the Portland City Council.

“It is legal in three states. It has withstood challenges in federal courts of appeal,” he said.

He said that police have struggled to identify the suspects seen in video footage beating Ngo and the other men because of the masks they were wearing.

Only one person involved in the attack on Ngo and the other men has been charged, with several others detained but not charged as of yet.

booking photos of antifa members
(L-R) Police booking photos of Maria Dehart, Gage Halupowski, and James Stocks, believed to be part of the far-left Antifa group. (Portland Police Bureau)
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An Antifa member suspected of assault. (Portland Police Bureau)

Grainy pictures released by the Portland Police Bureau showed some of the suspects.

The mayor hopes to implement some changes, including involving other bureaus such as the transportation bureau, in assisting police officers in planning for demonstrations and the inevitable appearance of Antifa, noting that Aug. 17 is the next scheduled event.

“We’ve got to quit being naive and assume this is just some local law enforcement issue,” Wheeler said. “The reality is, Portland is on the national stage.”

President Donald Trump recently weighed in, telling the crowd at a rally that Antifa is “evil” and full of “sick, bad people” and specifically mentioning how Antifa surrounded and beat Ngo.

“You notice they always attack people that really have never been attacked before. They attack—and I don’t want to be disrespectful to people that have taken a lot of shots to the face—but they wouldn’t attack some of the people in this room,” Trump said.

“They’re not attacking bikers for Trump, they’re not attacking construction workers for Trump, they’re not attacking law enforcement or military for Trump. You know who they’re attacking? A single man standing there with a camera who never got hit and never hit back before in his life.”

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