The FBI said it’s assisting the Portland Police Bureau in an investigation into a video posted on social media this week that includes a threat of physical violence against Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler if he does not resign.
The video appeared on Twitter Wednesday evening, posted by an anonymous account. In it, an unidentified masked narrator talking with an altered voice, said they were speaking on behalf of a “small collective from within the anarchist and anti-fascist community.” They said the mayor was “undeserving in his position” and called on viewers to fight the “city’s failed leadership.”
“Ted, if you ignore this message outright the destruction to your precious way of life is going to escalate,” the video’s narrator stated. “Blood is already on your hands, Ted. Next time it may just be your own.”
The two-minute video ends with a screenshot of what appears to the mayor’s home address, pulled from voting records.
In a statement, the FBI said it had been informed about the video and encouraged anyone with information about its creators to contact either the FBI or the PPB with information about who was behind it.
“The FBI is aware of the video and is assisting Portland Police Bureau in the investigation. Due to the ongoing nature of the case, we have no further information to release at this time,” wrote FBI spokesperson Beth Anne Steele.
The Oregonian/OregonLive first reported that the Portland Police were investigating the threat.
The death threat followed a press conference held by the mayor last Friday where he called for a harsh crackdown on demonstrators, pushing for higher bail and recommending Portlanders try and record license plates of Black-clad protesters to provide to the police.
“Our job is to unmask them, arrest them and prosecute them,” Wheeler said.
The call was rebuked by civil rights groups including the ACLU, who branded the mayor’s remarks “inappropriate, irresponsible, and dangerous” and warned they would encourage vigilantism. Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty also issued a statement Thursday condemning the comments.
“I believe Mayor Wheeler’s comments during a press conference last Friday escalated community tensions and were inappropriate in their potential implications and interpretations,” she wrote. “...This moment in history is not calling for increased punitive action, higher bail, a citywide atmosphere of suspicion, using words that could be interpreted as calls for vigilantism, or calling for a reversal of our sacred civil right that people are innocent until proven guilty.”