Portland Fire Commisioner Blames Cops for Starting Fires

How terrible do you have to be that even in this period of Black Lives Matter witch hunts and anti-police hysteria, you get called out by... Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler? Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty would like to offer a personal demonstration.

“I believe Portland Police [Bureau] is lying about the damage—or starting the fires themselves—so that they have justification for attacking community members,” Hardesty said.

That was a little too much. Not just for Daryl Turner of the PPA, who is African-American, but even for Wheeler.

In a letter sent to City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty late Thursday afternoon, Mayor Ted Wheeler chided her for incendiary claims she made yesterday that Portland police embedded themselves among protesters and set fire to public property, effectively framing protesters for arson.

After not speaking to Hardesty since July 18, Wheeler broke his silence Thursday. In his letter, he called Hardesty's accusation "shocking" and said it had forced the Portland Police Bureau to open an investigation into the claims she made.

He called on Hardesty, as the city's fire commissioner, to start an investigation if she knew of city employees engaged in arson, and to "come forward with any evidence you have of criminal behavior by city employees so that it can be investigated."

Hardesty, obviously, would like to be running the police department.

She did double down on her comments to take over as the police commissioner and today she details a plan of what she would do:

Officers not being at protests and with no riot gear on
Officers would respond to 911 calls and let people practice their first amendment right
She would work to bridge the gap between the community and police

Last night, Mayor Wheeler was asked if he would consider naming Hardesty the new police commissioner. He said no.

By all means. Burn Portland down and put her in charge.

Last week, Hardesty took to Twitter demanding action regarding the police bureau and included a message for Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner.

“Mayor Wheeler, if you can't control the police, give me the Portland Police Bureau," she said.

When asked whether she thinks Mayor Ted Wheeler is qualified to lead Portland through this historic moment, the commissioner said, "You know, he is who he is. He is a privileged white man who grew up among wealth and privilege, and so I don't know if he has what we need at this time. I can tell you I have what we need to fundamentally change how policing happens in Portland and would be fearless about changing it."

Sure. What does Portland have left to lose?

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