Recently, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler denounced Antifa by name. This came as a shock to everyone, both on the right and the left. Wheeler has been accused of protecting Antifa for years. However, on New Year’s Day, Wheeler pledged that the city of Portland will finally begin prosecuting Antifa criminals in 2021.
According to the Portland Tribune, of all the people arrested for rioting in Portland between May and December, only 8.4% were still being prosecuted by the end of the year. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office has been accused of conducting a complete stand down and refusing to prosecute left-wing violence.
During the recent round of Antifa rioting on January 20th, Portland police arrested 15 people. Some of them have already been arrested one or more times for rioting in the past, but never prosecuted. It remains to be seen in Wheeler makes good on his promise. Andy Ngo is reporting on Twitter that most of the 15 have already had their charges dropped, despite shocking video clips of violence.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Oregon [DPO] is still refusing to denounce Antifa, even after two major instances of mass vandalism of their state headquarters.
The first instance:
In October of 2019, Antifa covered the DPO State Headquarters in graffiti. The graffiti was supposed to be a “memorial” for high profile Rose City Antifa member Sean Kealiher. Some sort of violent street battle occurred outside of a notorious, and now shuttered, Antifa hangout called Cider Riot. Kealiher was leaving Cider Riot with friends. At some point he was pinned between an SUV and the DPO State Headquarters. According to Google Maps, Cider Riot and the state headquarters were .1 miles apart.
Men exit and abandon the SUV, which had fresh bullet holes. Kealiher is drug away by friends and eventually dumped at a local hospital. No one calls police, except for a homeless man who happened to be a witness. Prominent Antifa-linked Twitter accounts issue warnings for people not to talk to any law enforcement or post rumors online. Police put a $2.5k reward for information. Eventually, a lawyer for one of Kealiher’s friends told media that his client fired shots into the SUV, but maintains it was self-defense. To this day, the homicide is unsolved. Cider Riot shut down one year later, though the owner claims the bars reputation as “The Antifa Pub” had nothing to do with shutting down.
Kealiher once spent fifteen days in jail for interfering with a police officer and at least two videos exist showing him threatening individuals with violence.
Shortly after his death became known, Antifa began spray painting the DPO State Headquarters. This continued for at least 36 hours until the mother of Sean Kealiher personally pleaded with Antifa to stop vandalizing the building.
Rather than condemn the vandalism, The DPO issued an official statement of solidarity with the vandals, stating “Although the graffiti to our building is significant, any damage is insignificant compared to the community’s tremendous grief over this senseless death.” The DPO said they would not immediately clean up the graffiti, but allow to remain visible, and that they “can count on our support.” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also offered his condolences to Antifa. Portland had 52 homicides in 2020, nearly breaking the all time record set in 1993. I can’t find any instances of Ted Wheeler offering his condolences to friends and family of these homicide victims. Maybe he has, but I don’t see any instances reported in the media.
The second instance:
Let’s work under the assumption that the 2019 vandalism had unusual circumstances, leading to a very unusual response from the DPO.
The January 20th, 2021 attack was far different. Video clearly shows a pre-meditated attack on the building. Antifa brought weapons to smash windows. They brought umbrellas to block security cameras. They banned members from conducting the usual live-streams on social media. The graffiti had nothing to do with a homicide victim, it was purely aimed at attacking the DPO as a political party.
Aftermath of January 20th attack:
Here is the official statement from the DPO. Absolutely no mention of Antifa. The way that the statement is written, you have no idea who committed the attack, or what the motive was.
“We’re frustrated and disappointed about the damage done to our Democratic Party of Oregon Headquarters in Portland this afternoon. We’re thankful that none of our staff were in the building at the time. This is not the first time our building has been vandalized during the past year – none of the prior incidents have deterred us from our important work to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, and this one will be no different.
“None of this should take away from the fact that today is a joyous and momentous day for America as we celebrate the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. President Biden is already starting the work to build back better, with more than a dozen critical Executive Orders on climate, pandemic response, immigration, racial equality, and more. We at the Democratic Party of Oregon are resolute and determined to do everything in our power to support the Biden/Harris administration, and to help Oregon and America recover from the pandemic stronger than before.”
Some media outlets reported that US Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) condemned Antifa. He did not. When asked about the January 15th rioting. he told a reporter, “I repudiate it in every form possible — violence in any form. Violence from any corridor is wrong.” Wyden only made a generic statement about violence and did not denounce Antifa.