For more than a year now, the violent left-wing group Antifa has terrorized downtown Portland, Oregon, with “protests” and “demonstrations” that send bystanders to the hospital.
The most recent riot saw journalist Andy Ngo sent to the hospital with a brain bleed after he was assaulted and had his camera equipment stolen by the Antifa mob, who also threw milkshakes and silly string at him. Another man was attacked with a crowbar while he tried to defend another man who was being attacked. Both of these men said they entered the crowd after they saw members of Antifa chasing a gay man in a sundress, The Daily Wire previously reported.
Police did nothing to intervene during these attacks. They have not intervened in numerous violent attacks from members of Antifa over the past year. In October 2018, Portland’s left-wing mayor Ted Wheeler defended the police’s decisions not to intervene after video surfaced of members blocking traffic and yelling at drivers.
“I was appalled by what I saw in the video, but I support the Portland Police Bureau’s decision not to intervene,” Wheeler said at a press conference at the time, according to The Washington Times. “This whole incident will be investigated.”
Wheeler also holds the title of Police Commissioner.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke out against Wheeler on Sunday, tweeting that “legal action” should be taken against the mayor for keeping the police from protecting Antifa’s victims.
“To federal law enforcement: investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who has, for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists,” Cruz tweeted on Sunday.
The city of Portland and its police force may be liable for selectively defending citizens. Attorney Hans Bader recently wrote at Liberty Unyielding that the city and police may have violated the First Amendment by refusing to protect those attacked by Antifa.
In an email to The Daily Wire, Bader — a former Department of Education civil rights attorney — wrote that police cannot choose which citizens to defend.
“Police have no constitutional duty to protect people at all, but if they do protect, they have to do it in a viewpoint-neutral manner, rather than selectively letting Antifa get away with attacking people, when they usually would intervene against blatant, overt violence,” Bader wrote.
In his article, Bader brings up Dwares v. City of New York, a 1993 decision from a federal appeals court that allowed city police to be sued for doing nothing while flag burners were attacked. The argument was that the police would not have stood by if others were being attacked.
“Such viewpoint discrimination was forbidden by the First Amendment,” Bader wrote.
Further, Bader wrote, there “is no exception to constitutional protections for conservative victims, nor is there a ‘punch a Nazi’ exception to the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets continue to downplay Antifa’s violence. As The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh wrote, not one single Democrat candidate for president has condemned the violence, and the only media program to cover the attack on Andy Ngo at all was CNN’s Brian Stelter, who provided an edited clip of the attack (which didn’t show the brutal beating) and quickly moved to another segment. Had this been a group of President Donald Trump supporters attacking a left-wing journalist, there would have been wall-to-wall media coverage and outrage.