Patriot Prayer had a stash of guns on a roof before a violent Oregon rally in August. Police didn’t tell anyone.
By Andy Campbell
On Aug. 4, the Portland Police Bureau in Oregon protected two proto-fascist gangs as they marched around town, some in full body armor, in a planned disturbance disguised as a free speech rally.
Members of Patriot Prayer and its violent, punch-happy bodyguards, the Proud Boys, laughed and cheered behind barricades as cops fired dangerous rubber bullets and other nonlethal weapons at their opposition: a mix of local anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators. Cops nearly killed one of those these counterprotesters when an impact grenade penetrated a man’s helmet and embedded itself into his skull.
Police claimed anti-fascists had hurled projectiles at riot cops — something two HuffPost reporters on the scene never witnessed. Days later — after outrage over the department’s response to the rally — Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said on a conservative radio show that protesters were acting like children and were only “mad because I kicked your butt.”
What Outlaw didn’t say at the time was that the people she and her department defended had even more weapons than police had revealed to the public. Mayor Ted Wheeler told reporters Monday that police found a group of Patriot Prayer members on Aug. 4 with guns on a rooftop before the demonstrations that day — and didn’t say a word.
Instead, police acted as their personal guard and kept silent about the guns for two months, when Wheeler found out about them.
During a press conference, he recalled the rally on Aug. 4, revealing that “the Portland Police Bureau discovered individuals who positioned themselves on a rooftop parking structure in downtown Portland with a cache of firearms,” according to The Oregonian. Police released a statement Tuesday “clarifying” that the cache consisted of three rifles in their cases. “After further review it has been determined that no firearms were seized or taken as safe keeping from the individuals,” the statement said.