Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he wants city police to do whatever it takes to ensure that an Aug. 17 rally does not end in rampant violence.
In a video released Wednesday, Wheeler said city leaders have received information that some people are coming to spread hate and start fights at what organizers are billing as a free speech rally. Such rallies have ended in chaos and brawls between opposing protesters in the past, and police have faced criticism for not preventing the violence or responding faster.
Wheeler and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw have both said that this event will be different. In his video, Wheeler noted the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and said he has given the police clear orders. He didn't specify precisely what steps he wants police to take, but did say he plans to make sure Outlaw and her team have the personnel they need.
"To those people planning to come and inflict violence in our city: We don’t want you here," he said. "This is why I’ve empowered and directed the Portland Police Bureau to use whatever means necessary and amass whatever resources necessary to uphold the law."
Wheeler said he’s seeking help from other law enforcement agencies across the region to build a large coalition of police for Aug. 17. He's also promising to push prosecutors to make sure people who do break the law face criminal charges.
Organizers of the Aug. 17 event have written on social media of potential violence and talked about carrying weapons. Some activists and members of Antifa have promised to oppose them.