When a viral video showed Antifa protesters blocking traffic and harassing drivers, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) found himself on the hot seat earlier this month.
But during a press conference Friday, Wheeler reportedly doubled-down on his support of the police department’s decision to watch from a distance without getting involved.
Wheeler wrote on Twitter:
Wheeler made the comment even though the protesters chased down 74-year-old Kent Houser as he tried to make a right turn without their permission. The “activists” broke a window on Houser’s silver Lexus and pounded on the car, inflicting thousands of dollars in damage.
"When you have an angry mob yelling at you and beating on your car you just want to get out of there," Houser said Friday during an interview with The Oregonian.
Demonstrators also did not have a permit for their Oct. 6 march to protest Patrick Kimmons, a 27-year-old black man, being shot and killed Sept. 30 by police. His death remains under investigation.
A video posted on social media by journalist Andy Ngo showed the protesters blocking an intersection and directing traffic while officers sat idly on their motorcycles about a block away. The group included members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
Ngo wrote on Twitter:
(Note: The following video contains graphic language.)
Wheeler who is ultimately responsible for the police department, has said protesters must remain on sidewalks and cannot take over streets. But police did not immediately disperse them during the Kimmons protest.
No physical injuries were reported, but the handling of the situation led to backlash across social media and among conservative news outlets.
Wheeler also tweeted Friday: