In anticipation of a Proud Boys rally in Portland, Oregon governor Kate Brown issued an emergency executive order, and deputized 50 officers to keep the peace. From Newsweek:
About 50 Portland, Oregon, police officers will be deputized as federal marshals ahead of Saturday’s Proud Boys rally, enabling federal prosecutors to potentially bring federal charges upon those arrested.
Officers assigned to the specialized crowd control teams in the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) will be deputized early Saturday morning, Oregon State Police (OSP) Supt. Travis Hampton told The Oregonian/OregonLive. Governor Kate Brown tapped Hampton to lead police response with Multonmah County Sheriff Mike Reese under an emergency executive order, OregonLive reported.
Hampton asked the U.S. Marshals Service to grant the officers in the special squad federal powers. “Portland officers have been serving on the front lines of nightly protests for months, sustaining injuries and encountering unspeakable violence,” he said. “If I am to send them into harm’s way this weekend, on my authority, I’m going to ensure they have all the protections and authority of OSP troopers.”
The article makes it seem like the threat of violence is from the Proud Boys, and that they’re guilty of “unspeakable violence.” But it wasn’t Proud Boys who threw Molotov cocktails at the police, it wasn’t Proud Boys who set fire to the Justice Center, and it wasn’t Proud Boys who illegally blocked streets, destroyed businesses and defaced public property for over 100 nights straight. No, that sort of “unspeakable violence” was perpetrated by BLM activists.
I attended today’s rally at Delta Park, and it was a jolly, festive, atmosphere. There was no hate to be seen. Instead, I witnessed several hundred flag-waving patriots making speeches, supporting Trump, playing music, selling t-shirts and hats, and overall having a good time.
The absence of Antifa/BLM meant that peace reigned. Actually, there was one man with a BLM banner. He was surrounded by Proud Boys and other conservatives for a couple of hours. He wasn’t wearing armor or a helmet or a gas mask, and he didn’t bother carrying a shield. It’s almost like he somehow KNEW that he wasn’t going to be in any danger… except for the fact that some folks spoke to him, and (as we’re told) words can be “violence.” If the situation were reversed, and a conservative showed up at a BLM rally, things would likely end differently.
CNN made sure to remind us that the SPLC considers Proud Boys to be a “hate group”:
Proud Boys is far-right extremist organization that has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
… and, to emphasize this, CNN used the following photo to characterize the event:
Yes, the “reporter” probably took hundreds of photos, and made sure to pick the one that seemed to depict the most hate. People who weren’t there, but saw this photo, might believe that the attendees were shrieking for the lynching of negroes and Jews. Perhaps they were getting ready to burn a cross.
Many reporters were in attendance, almost enough to make their own rally. I spoke with one of them. He worked for BBC, and was from Australia. Other reporters interviewed Proud Boys members, and it looked like they were sympathetic, and that they were absorbing the information they were given.
I’m skeptical. Perhaps some of them realize that conservatives aren’t the bad guys in the Portland scene – but this doesn’t mean they’re at liberty to write the truth in their respective papers; they don’t want to lose their jobs. It’s just as likely that they put on a friendly facade in order to gain more material.
As for the police, the only ones I saw were parked outside the rally, on the street. They seem to have known that, as long as BLM/Antifa was kept out, things would be peaceful.
CNN reported that there were about 1000 people at the Proud Boys rally. My impression was that it was a bit more than that; there were several concentrations of people, with several groups guarding the peripheries in case Antifa decided to attack.
Local TV channel KGW reported that “several thousand” were present. Reportedly, there was an assault during the rally. I know nothing about it, and I did arrive an hour late.
I’m still learning how to use my bodycam effectively. Otherwise I would include a video here. But, at least when I was there, nothing exciting happened.