U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Following another weekend of violent protests in the Pacific Northwest’s two major metropolitan areas dominated by far-left politics—Seattle and Portland—forces of anarchy and those demanding the defunding or dismantling of local police departments appear to be on a collision course with the law.
Federal officers moved in on Portland protesters, causing Mayor Ted Wheeler to blame them for escalating the violence. But according to the Portland Oregonian, Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner countered, “The elected officials have condoned the destruction and chaos. They have placed their political agenda ahead safety and welfare of the community. This must stop.”
Oregon’s largest city has endured more than 50 nights of protest, including vandalism and more serious trouble. It was ignited by the death of George Floyd, a Black man held to the ground by Minneapolis police in late May, a knee on his neck until he could no longer breathe. Four officers involved in that incident have been fired and charged with felonies.
But Turner said the protests are no longer about that tragedy.
“This is no longer about George Floyd, racial equity, social justice reform or the evolution of policing,” Turner said. “This is about violence, rioting and destruction. Our city is under siege by rioters.”
Federal officers moved in, taking several demonstrators into custody. Wheeler, appearing over the weekend on CNN, declared, “People are being literally scooped off the street into unmarked vans, rental cars apparently. They’re being denied probable cause and due process. They don’t even know who’s pulling them into the vans.”
He called it an abuse of tactics by federal authorities.
“They are making the situation much more dangerous. I’m worried that one of our residents, or one of our local and state law enforcement officers, is going to get killed because of the tactics that they’re currently engaged in,” Wheeler reportedly said.
Reacting to Wheeler’s remarks Monday morning on “Fox & Friends,” Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf declared Wheeler’s remarks to be “completely irresponsible.”
“The facts don't lie and the facts are that these violent anarchists and extremists were violent well before DHS surged federal assets into Portland,” Wolf said.
Caught in the middle of this chaos are local residents who neither want to be endangered, or have their property vandalized or destroyed. Certainly in the proverbial backs of some minds are the state constitutional right to bear arms provisions in both Oregon and Washington, found at the Second Amendment Foundation website.
Oregon Constitution Article I, Section 27
‘The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power[.]’
Washington Constitution Article I, Section 24
“The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”
Both states have strong self-defense/use-of-force statutes. On both sides of the Columbia River, the use of force is allowed when some is committing in imminent danger of physical harm. Oregon’s statute may be read here. Washington’s statute may be read here.
In Seattle, KING 5 News reported, “A ‘well organized’ group marched through downtown Seattle to Capitol Hill…causing significant damage to businesses and the Seattle Police Department’s West and East Precincts.” Capitol Hill was the scene of the infamous “CHOP zone” where protesters seized six blocks of real-estate for 16 days, until Seattle police move them out following two homicides and four shootings.
As described by KING, “A group of peaceful protesters gathered in Westlake Park for several hours Sunday and then a separate group arrived carrying baseball bats and was set out for ‘destruction and damage,’ police said.” A dozen police officers were injured and one was hospitalized, according to published reports. A baseball bat can be a deadly weapon.
A Seattle Police tweet, according to KING, stated, “These are criminal acts, not peaceful protests.”
In a separate KING report, it was revealed that, “A group gathered Sunday to try and get the attention of Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez and convince her to publicly commit to the idea of defunding SPD by 50%.” The story noted seven of nine city council members “have publicly supported defunding SPD by 50%.”
A news crew from rival KOMO was harassed by protesters as they tried to cover the weekend demonstration, and it was all caught on video.
And in the midst of this, KUOW radio is reporting about an effort by the Democrat-controlled King County Council to change the office of sheriff to an appointed rather than elected position. They voted to approve to proposed charter amendments, one making the sheriff an appointed office and the other preserving the election of a sheriff but allowing the council to “legislate the sheriff’s duties.”
This was tried once before, but voters changed it back decades ago. Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht asserts the council is “overstepping its authority,” according to KUOW. While conservatives on social media are opposed to the change idea, gun owners haven’t forgotten that in 2018, she co-authored a statement in the voter’s pamphlet supporting gun control Initiative 1639, which raised the age for purchasing a modern sporting rifle to 21, and requires a 10-day waiting period, so-called “universal background check” for the purchase of such a firearm and proof of safety training within the previous five years.
In a telling comment, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay reportedly observed during a meeting “that protesters are calling on their governments to reimagine policing.”
“Right now, we have a movement around the country that’s asking us to make big, bold transformational changes to our sheriff’s department,” he said.
So, protesters want policing to change, but what about everyone else? Is the public growing weary of these violent demonstrations, which seem to allegedly always begin as “peaceful” but quickly turn destructive?
Their sentiment may be best summed up in remarks on Facebook by Portland-based radio commentator Lars Larson.
“Does anyone doubt that Portland’s leaders have lost control of the riots,” he asks. “Rioters tell police they hope officers and their families die.”
As reported earlier, there is something of a moratorium on new concealed pistol license applications in Washington’s King County and the City of Seattle. Yet there has been a lot of new gun-buying around the Northwest since the COVID-19 pandemic panic set in four months ago.
Panic has been replaced by frustration that authorities in both Seattle and Portland are allowing this violence to continue. Peaceful protest is protected by the Constitution, but as those demanding some semblance of law and order, and public safety, have repeatedly observed, the First Amendment does not protect rioting, looting, vandalism or property destruction.
About Dave Workman