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Portland Antifa cause $500,000 in damage to city in protests over activist's murder

The murdered activist's mother organized the gathering, billing it as “not a peaceful event” and “a night of rage and anger.”

Portland Antifa cause $500,000 in damage to city in protests over activist's murder
Genevieve Reaume
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Antifa rioters commemorating the death of one of their own tore through downtown Portland, Oregon last week to cause nearly $500,000 in damage.

Police say that they were powerless to stop the city-wide riot due to policies currently in place that restrict the use of less-lethal and crowd disbursement weapons, including tear gas, pepper spray, and other forms of crowd control.

Described as “anarchist” rioters, the Oregonian detailed how a group of 100 demonstrators smashed windows and tagged graffiti across buildings in downtown Portland at the end of a gathering to commemorate the anniversary of a local activist.

As detailed in the Intercept, Sean Kealiher was a young anarchist who was influential in Portland’s protest scene. He joined and left many of the city’s leftist organizations, and became a fixture when he joined an Occupy Portland encampment in 2011. The publication notes that he often left groups “as he kept reelaborating his belief system to be more radical than most others’ in his circle.”

Kealiher was shot and killed in 2019 in a drive-by shooting while walking outside Cider Riot, a local hangout for Antifa militants. Kealiher’s death shocked the community because of how close it happened to Cider Riot, with many fearing that the attack was politically motivated.

Although Kealiher’s death was ruled a homicide by the police, no arrests have been made, and no persons of interest were named.

“A group of about 100 demonstrators broke windows and left graffiti scrawled on downtown Portland buildings Tuesday night at the end of a gathering commemorating the anniversary of a local activist’s death,” The Oregonian reported. “Police eventually declared the event an unlawful assembly, according to social media posts from the demonstration, after some people lit fires in the street and set off fireworks.”

“No arrests have been made and investigations are underway,” according to police sources who spoke to the outlet. “The damage is believed to be over $500,000, and 35 separate locations were targeted, including banks, retail stores, coffee shops, and government buildings, according to police, who referred to the demonstrators as ‘anarchists.’”

The event was planned by Kealiher’s mother Laura to protest the investigation into her son's death. In promoting the riot, Laura Kealiher billed it as “not a peaceful event,” and “a night of rage and anger.”

Portland police were ultimately able to quell the riot, but their options on dealing with the mob were limited by a state law that effectively ties their hands.

“Lt. Jake Jensen with the Portland Police Bureau joined the Pearl District Neighborhood Association meeting Thursday night on the heels of widespread vandalism in the area,” Portland’s KOIN reported. “Jensen said House Bill 2928 is the reason officers aren’t directly intervening as vandals damage downtown Portland property.”

“The reason that we did not intervene goes back to what we talked about last month with HB 2928 and the restrictions placed on us in a crowd control environment,” Jenson told the meeting. “That’s the way our legislature has said we need to operate in a crowd control environment. So that’s the way we are going to operate in a crowd control environment.”

Under HB 2928, police are prohibited from using tear gas, pepper spray, and non-lethal ammunition to perform crowd control. The law applies to all law enforcement agencies in the state of Oregon.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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