Mayor Ted Wheeler claimed that he will “unmask” everyone who’s destroyed property in Portland, Oregon during the protests following the murder of George Floyd. The issue with this is that Mayor Wheeler is neglecting the reason these people are destroying federal and private property. As opposed to seeing it from the protesters’ and rioters’ perspective, Ted Wheeler is ignoring their reasoning and treating all of them like criminals.
The city of Portland was home to countless crimes against the people, to the point where the United Nations threatened to get themselves involved, claiming that “A failure to respect and ensure the right of peaceful assembly is typically a marker of repression,”. A committee of national law experts was tasked with monitoring Portland as police and federal agents used tear gas, brutal assaults, false arrests, and fear tactics to silence all forms of protesters. “It is a fundamental human right for individuals to join a peaceful assembly to express themselves, to celebrate, or to air grievances,”, said Christof Haynes, a law professor at South Africa’s University of Pretoria.
Demonstrators in Portland originated peacefully, but after being met with tear gas and beatings and false arrests and fascist forms of silencing one’s right to assembly certain demonstrators turned violent.
Tear gas, which is a war crime to use in battle, can be seen constantly during all forms of protests in Portland. The tear gas wasn’t enough to silence the people fighting for human rights, so Ted Wheeler (nicknamed Tear Gas Teddy) brought in federal officers to “maintain the peace” in his terms but in the terms of everyone who’s had the displeasure of experiencing them, the feds were brought to “kidnap us, silence us, and turn us down”, one protester who wishes to remain anonymous claims to me, “But it didn’t work, we’re still fighting.”
The demonstrators in Portland originally sought accountability for the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many many unfortunate others who met a similar fate. However, after watching a fascist and racist system try to silence them, the demonstrators are now calling for Ted Wheeler’s resignation and to either defund the police or abolish them entirely.
The Portland Police Bureau takes $248.3 million (according to portlandoregon.gov), yet Oregon as a whole ranks 40th in the Nation for education (according to wallethub). Portland ranks amongst some of the lowest in the state for school districts. Portland’s police used to take up 37% of the city’s funding, nowadays they take up 53% (according to a portlandoregon.gov article). Rather than properly reallocate funding, the city is inflating the police rather than helping provide a proper education to its citizens.
Ted Wheeler, looking to “unmask” the rioters and protesters is wrong. Rather than looking at the riot itself, one must look at why the people are rioting and what can be done about that. Listening to the people is an absolute must, but Ted Wheeler is neglecting the people of Portland.