Texas Senator Ted Cruz is calling for a federal investigation of Portland Mayor Pete Wheeler after an Antifa protest turned violent this past weekend, injuring several people including Quillette editor Andy Ngo. Other prominent Republicans have joined Senator Cruz in condemning the attack against Ngo including Ambassador Richard Grenell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Ngo has covered Antifa in the past and expressed concern over his safety in the days leading up to Saturday’s attack. He continues to cover Antifa despite the danger because he believes that it is important to expose the group’s dangerous behavior. The attack ultimately resulted in Ngo suffering a brain bleed as well as lacerations and bruises on his face and neck.
Video of the incident shows the Portland police did not intervene until after the attack had taken place. As reported by The Federalist:
Soon after Antifa beat Ngo, the Portland police tweeted that this was a “civil disturbance and unlawful assembly” and told everyone to vacate the public area under threat of arrest. The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, saw the video of Ngo being beaten and condemned it, but admitted he believed the police acted correctly by not intervening. Portland police have a history of not interfering during Antifa protests.
Harmeet K. Dhillon, attorney for Mr. Ngo, took to Twitter on Monday to express her frustration with Portland’s response to the violence:
If Portland’s leadership unequally enforces the laws, puts citizens in harm’s way, and enable vicious assaults, they should answer in court. And the criminal gang Antifa that terrorizes regular Americans and journalists may also see its members sued, its leaders/assets at risk.
Even some on the far left recognize the serious nature of what Antifa’s assault of Ngo means for journalism. Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow with Media Matters for America tweeted, “It is not acceptable to assault journalists, no matter how much you hate their work. Trying to create carve-outs on this is a very bad idea that is unlikely to end well.”
The attacks on Ngo and others this past Saturday are not the first time that Antifa has gotten violent in Portland without intervention from Portland police. In October 2018, videos were circulated which showed members of Antifa verbally harassing individuals without nearby police intervening:
After that incident, Ngo told Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that police in Portland seem to take a hands-off approach to protestors in the city. At the time, a Portland police spokesman told a local news outlet that officers monitored the protest however there was no intervention because police weigh "the ability for people to gather to practice their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly."
Senator Ted Cruz is right. Portland Mayor Pete Wheeler should be investigated for putting politics before the safety of the citizens he is charged to protect.