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Portland mayor admits his effort to deal with Antifa failed, seeks federal and state help

'My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence,' Ted Wheeler lamented.

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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
(Nathan Howard / Getty Images)
Updated: January 3, 2021 - 8:28am

Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler admits his efforts at appeasing radical anarchists failed after another destructive riot ruined New Year's Eve in his city, and he is now appealing for federal and state help.

“My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists,” Wheeler told a press conference Friday. “In response it will be necessary to use additional tools and to push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end.”

Wheeler, who once famously demanded federal law enforcement to leave his city, called for a task force of “federal, state, county and local law enforcement to convene to deal with anarchist violence. as soon as possible.”

He also asked the state Legislature to "increase penalties for repeat offenders" of rioting.

"I believe people convicted of criminal destruction be required to meet with those whose businesses they damaged,” Wheeler said, “and be required to do public service.”

Wheeler said he was deflated by the New Year's Eve rioting in which anarchist defaced downtown venues and firebombed police. 

“It’s hard for most of us to even comprehend what goes on in the heads of people who think it’s OK or a good idea to go on a violent rampage through the city on New Year’s Eve and during a pandemic,” the mayor said. “It’s the height of selfishness.”