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DHS tells Portland Democratic mayor to 'prioritize public safety' or feds will intervene

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf says Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has "passively" stood by during months of riots that are destroying the city.

Published: September 1, 2020 9:36am

Updated: September 2, 2020 12:05am

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf is urging Portland Democratic Mayor Wheeler to request federal assistance for his city following nearly 100 straight days of rioting. 

The violence, mostly at night, has resulted in deaths recently of three people and has included clashes between pro-Trump groups and far-left demonstrators. 

According to a letter Monday from Wolf to Wheeler, the Department of Homeland Security has made 255 arrests and declared 23 instances of riots and unlawful assemblies during the past month alone. 

He also wrote that Wheeler has amid the chaos "stood passively by, arguing that nightly violence 'will ultimately burn itself out.' The evidence demonstrates otherwise."

On Friday, Wheeler wrote a letter to President Trump rejecting federal assistance, which Trump has continuously offered the city.

"On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks," wrote Wheeler. "Portlanders are onto you. We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic. And we know you've reached the conclusion that images of violence or vandalism are your only ticket to reelection." 

Wolf wrote in response: "Ignoring criminal behavior is no way to protect the citizens of your community, the same citizens who entrusted you to hold elected office. I urge you to prioritize public safety and to request federal assistance to restore law and order in Portland."

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