Veteran who was harassed by Antifa over flag says riots have become part of Portland’s landscape

FBI in Portland for ‘imminent’ gun threats: Report

Gabriel Johnson, a retired Marine and the co-founder of the Coalition to Save Portland, explains the current ‘atmosphere’ in the city, stressing the importance of investing in public safety.

Gabriel Johnson, a retired Marine and the co-founder of the Coalition to Save Portland, explains the current “atmosphere” in the city on “Fox & Friends Weekend” and stressed the importance of investing in public safety.

The retired Marine Corps officer made the comments following a report that the police and the FBI are on the streets of Portland due to “imminent” efforts from outside groups to “engage and advance gun violence” this weekend, the Portland City Council reportedly announced, citing intelligence. 

A statement from Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty, Mingus Mapps, Carmen Rubio and Dan Ryan said the city learned “three alarming things” that led to the decision, KOIN reported on Friday. 

Officials reportedly said that groups involved in this violence have issued an order to shoot someone in the next 30 days or they be shot for not showing loyalty, adding that people from Washington and California are in Portland to engage in gun violence. 

In a statement, the FBI confirmed they will be on the streets of Portland engaging in “a very visible effort” with members of the Metro Safe Streets Task Force to “show the community that it is working to bring peace to the streets” and to send a message to criminals that “law enforcement is working assertively to find them and arrest them.” 

Johnson himself became a target in Portland during the riots in the city. Portland saw 100 consecutive days of often violent protests last year sparked by the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd, for which a former Minneapolis police officer was convicted of murder last month.

In July, living only a block away from the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in downtown Portland, which has become an epicenter of violence in the city, Johnson marched into the chaos carrying his American flag.

Respondents to the poll commissioned by The Oregonian newspaper used words like “dirty,” “trash,” “riots” and “unsafe” to describe the heart of the city, which appears to have deteriorated during the coronavirus pandemic and social unrest of the past year. 

Downtown Portland, once a cultural and tourist center, is now rife with homeless tents, smashed windows, graffiti, trash and boarded-up businesses, the newspaper reported. 

And while large-scale anti-police protests have mostly faded since their apex last summer, the city has yet to quell continued destruction caused by smaller groups who go through the city purporting to demonstrate for racial justice, smashing windows and tagging buildings in the process. 

Johnson noted that since last spring, “riots and protests have become normalized and part of the city’s landscape.” 

“It’s really, really unfortunate,” he said. “And unfortunately it doesn’t lead to people feeling safe to even walk outside of their homes.” 

 He stressed that the current “atmosphere” further “erodes the confidence of Portlanders and people visiting the city.” 

“Safety is something that you should assume, but unfortunately it’s not,” Johnson added. 

He also pointed to the city’s leadership as a root of the problem, arguing that their actions don’t “speak to confidence building that public safety is a priority here in Portland.”

“It’s not,” he stressed, referencing the need for more money in the budget for law enforcement. 

In March, Wheeler called for nearly $2 million in additional funding for the city’s police force and other agencies, citing a rise in homicides and other violent crime. However, members of the city council were either mum or not fully committed so far on whether they would back the plan, according to reports.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported last month that Wheeler proposed a $5.7 billion budget recently that would see the city’s police bureau bear the biggest cuts of any department given a $20 million shortfall in the city’s general fund. 

In a statement sent to Fox News a spokesman for Wheeler said public safety is one of the mayor’s “top three priorities.” 

“He fully supports the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) both as Mayor and Police Commissioner,” the spokesman said. “Since he became Mayor, PPB’s budget has grown significantly overall. The last year has been a trying one for members of the PPB, and he is indebted to them for standing firm during the difficult economic and crisis climate we’re facing.” 

The spokesman also pointed to recent actions by the mayor as it pertains to the police department saying he supported “an add-back package restoring 30 officer positions to the bureau.” 

“In addition, he continues to be an advocate for officer deterrence around gun violence,” he added. 

“Likewise, supporting the PPB does not mean discouraging change. The Mayor recognizes the community’s calls for accountable and trusted policing, and he’s committed to making reforms to that end.”

Fox News’ Brie Stimson, Teny Sahakian, Dom Calicchio and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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