PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler promised to hold violent demonstrators accountable in a press conference hosted after two straight days of vandalization and clashes with police.
Wheeler said Friday that he would organize a meeting with local and state law enforcement to determine a response to “anarchist violence” in the city.
Police said Friday that demonstrators launched fireworks at a federal courthouse and the Portland Justice Center and sent projectiles at police officers. Videos and photos of the demonstrations showed extensive damage to downtown stores, with smashed windows and fresh graffiti throughout, the Oregonian reported.
Wheeler called for the Oregon Legislature to pass a bill to increase penalties for those who repeatedly vandalize property.
He also said that state lawmakers may need to change laws to afford the city government more surveillance abilities, though he provided no specifics when pressed for details, the Oregonian reported.
Wheeler has characterized the demonstrators as “largely white, young and some middle-aged men” and as violent “anarchists” who have caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage to taxpayer and private properties during a time of economic hardship.
New City Commissioner Mingus Mapps, who is the third Black man to be on the Portland City Council in the city’s history, joined Wheeler at the press conference on Friday. Mapps distinguished peaceful protesters fighting against racial injustice from the “vandals” involved with the recent demonstrations.
“I literally would not be out here today at this podium,” if not for peaceful protests throughout history, Mapps said Friday.