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Arrests precede major demonstrations in Portland

Bend police among agencies helping the city

Bend sends SWAT team officers to Portland

(Update: Patriot Prayer leader's arrest, more details)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities arrested the leader of a right-wing group on the eve of a rally that's expected to draw people from around the U.S. to Portland on Saturday, prompting Patriot Prayer's Joey Gibson to urge his followers to "show up 100-fold" in response.

Self-described anti-fascists have vowed to confront the right-wing groups at the downtown rally and the arrests of Gibson and five other right-wing supporters appeared to be intended to send a signal from police to organizers to remain peaceful or stay away.

Gibson, who is not involved in this weekend's event but organized similar rallies in 2017 and 2018 that erupted in clashes, surrendered Friday on an arrest warrant for rioting. He was at a confrontation that broke out on May 1 outside a bar where members of the so-called "antifa" movement had gathered after a May Day demonstration.

In a video he livestreamed on Facebook, Gibson accused the police of playing politics by arresting him and other right-wing members but not the masked demonstrators who beat up conservative blogger Andy Ngo at a June 29 rally.

A video of that attack went viral and led the Proud Boys, who have been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to organize Saturday's event.

"What I'm saying to everybody who's listening to this (is) they're trying to shut you guys up. They want you to not show up in Portland, they want to put fear in your hearts. When a government pushes back like that, we don't bend the knee," he said, as he walked to the jail.

"We show up ten-fold, one hundred-fold," he said. "If you believe in freedom and you're against this political charging that they're doing, show up tomorrow but be peaceful. Force them to arrest you for being peaceful."

A Portland Police spokeswoman declined to comment about specific arrests but said generally police continue to investigate several incidents from clashes on May 1 and June 29 and are politically neutral.

Members of antifa often cover their faces with masks, making it harder to identify them.

"We receive criticism no matter what. It's either too much, not enough, you arrested this group and not this group," said police spokeswoman Tina Jones. "It seems like some people are keeping score and that's not what it's about on the law enforcement side. One hundred percent, it's about public safety."

In addition to the Proud Boys, the white nationalist American Guard and the Three Percenters, a far-right militia, have all said they will have members in Portland.

Hate group watchdogs say the Daily Stormers, a neo-Nazi group, are also expected.

The Oath Keepers, another far-right militia group, said in a statement late Thursday they were pulling out of the rally because organizers have not done enough to keep white supremacist groups away. The group's founder, Stewart Rhodes, said while he agreed with the rally's goal of opposing antifascists, he was concerned about the violent rhetoric posted online that could cause legal problems for those who attend.

"It would be best for the patriot/conservative cause if this August 17 rally were simply canceled," he wrote. "Those who want to protest the way Portland coddles Antifa should start over, with a clean slate."

Police and city officials spent Friday finishing preparations. More than two dozen different local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are expected, some at the rally and some in support roles, Jones said.

Authorities asked residents not to call 911 unless it's a life-threatening emergency and to stay away from the heart of downtown. Some city streets were already closed Friday and a major bridge connecting the east and west sides of the city will close before dawn Saturday.

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Follow Gillian Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus

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Here's the Portland Police Bureau's news release on its preparations, issued Friday;

The Portland Police Bureau continues to provide information and instructions for anticipated demonstrations scheduled for Saturday, August 17, 2019, in the area of Tom McCall Waterfront Park, located at 1020 Southwest Naito Parkway. The gatherings for the demonstrations may begin as soon as 9:30 a.m. The demonstrations will likely take place between Southwest Salmon Street and Southwest Morrison Street at Waterfront Park. These events are fluid in nature, and the public should be mindful that activity may take place outside of this area. 

The intent of law enforcement is to provide a safe environment for all participants, non-participants, and community members while ensuring the peaceful exercise of the First Amendment. In order to increase safety for all, officers will be speaking and interacting with individuals from various groups. These interactions and communications are necessary to provide increased safety and should not be construed as bias, preference, or agreement with any particular view point or side. Law enforcement personnel's role is to protect and serve the public and this is done neutrally and in accordance with the Constitution, Federal, State, and local laws. 

The Bureau has been collaborating with law enforcement and public safety partners to ensure that public safety is the top priority for all participants and community members. The public should expect a highly visible law enforcement presence in the downtown area for this event. The Portland Police Bureau canceled days off for sworn members; however, already critical staffing levels and pre-existing vacations or days off still impact the number of PPB personnel. Outside agency partners from across the region and state are providing assistance to the Portland Police Bureau in a variety of roles, including assisting with responding to emergency calls for service. A list of agencies who have been or will be assisting the Portland Police Bureau in a variety of roles is attached to this press release. 

We ask those who have non-emergency calls on August 17th to consider reporting another day or reporting on-line at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/cor/ Life-threatening emergencies should be reported to 9-1-1. Call 9-1-1 if you can; text 9-1-1 if you can't. Texts to 9-1-1 cannot include emoticons, emoji's, pictures, or videos. 

Based on publicly available information, the Bureau is concerned events on August 17 may involve persons interested in participating in criminal activity. The Portland Police Bureau has been planning for weeks to prepare the appropriate resource response to this event. The Police Bureau members and partner agencies are prepared to make arrests, even if large numbers of arrests are appropriate, if individuals and groups engage in criminal activity. Lawful orders provided by the sound truck or directly from sworn law enforcement personnel must be obeyed by all in the vicinity, including on-lookers, participants, and media. Those who do not obey the directions given are subject to arrest. 

Force is not the preferred response for making arrests or keeping an area safe, but it is an option law enforcement personnel may utilize to prevent violence, protect themselves or others, or disperse a crowd, for example. Force options may include, but are not limited to: physical force, pepper spray, pepper balls, rubber ball distraction devices, or cs gas. It is imperative for those involved to listen to the admonishments from the sound trucks and law enforcement personnel or be subject to force. 

The Portland Police Bureau's liaison teams attempt to work with all event organizers to establish an environment where community members may safely practice their First Amendment Rights of speech and assembly. The Police Bureau Liaison Teams are available to assist event organizers in planning a safe event for participants, Portland community members, and businesses. Liaison Officers may be contacted at: PPBLiaison@portlandoregon.gov or through its Twitter account: @PPBLiaison. 

The Liaison Officers will be wearing white polo shirts with "Liaison Officer" on the shirts, along with gray pants so they are highly visible to all. The Liaison Officers have been attempting and making contact with some of the participants and will continue to do so. 

The Police Bureau encourages road users to be aware of the potential for traffic interruptions and to plan for alternate routes in and around Downtown Portland on Saturday. As of the time of this release, the following closures are planned: 
The Hawthorne Bridge will be closed in both directions to vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic on August 17th beginning at early as 4 a.m. for an undetermined amount of time, 
Southwest 2nd Avenue from Southwest Madison to Main Streets will be closed to vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic on August 17th beginning as early as 4 a.m. for an undetermined amount of time 

Demonstration events are dynamic in nature and it may be necessary to close other streets the day of the events for the public's safety. The area of impact downtown is fluid and updates will be provided via Twitter and/or media releases as appropriate. 

At the time of this release, no permits have been obtained for Saturday's demonstrations. Other than the previously mentioned planned closures, the streets remain open to vehicular traffic. There are no permits issued for any street marches. Unpermitted marchers should remain on sidewalks and obey traffic laws. Failure to do so may result in arrest and/or citations. 

Check https://trimet.org/#alerts/ before heading out on transit, or sign up for TriMet service alerts by email or text message at https://trimet.org/emailupdates/index.htm If police determine an area has become unsafe, TriMet will adjust their service for the safety of their riders and employees. 

PPB wants to remind the public of the following city codes and Oregon Revised Statues: 

Per Portland City Code, it is unlawful to carry a loaded firearm in public unless you have a valid Oregon concealed handgun license or as specified in the code. See https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/article/332592 

The City of Portland has specific conduct rules and laws that apply to parks: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/?c=28627 including a specific prohibition on the possession of weapons in parks: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/article/641629 

Oregon has NO concealed handgun license reciprocity with any other state, and it is a crime to carry a concealed handgun in Oregon unless you have and present for inspection a valid OREGON concealed handgun license (Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 166.250 and ORS 166.291: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors166.html 

Prohibited items may be temporarily or permanently seized by police, if in violation of city, state or federal law. 

Bias motivated crimes are unlawful as outlined in Oregon Revised Statutes 166.165 and 166.155. If anyone believes they were the victim of such crimes, they are encouraged to contact police and file a report. 

Incidents that threaten life, safety or property will be investigated thoroughly. People who participate in illegal behavior, including acts of physical violence, will be subject to immediate arrest or citation on Saturday or at a later time after additional investigation has occurred. People near others who are preparing to or in the act of committing criminal behavior are encouraged to separate themselves from the group and notify police. 

The Portland Police Bureau intends to share pertinent information with the community on the day of the events through its main Twitter account: @PortlandPolice, including frequent situational status videos. 

Anyone with information about criminal behavior being planned prior to this event, or observes criminal behavior during this event, or learns of it after this event, is asked to share it by email to CrimeTips@portlandoregon.gov

If anyone is the victim of a crime during this event, they are encouraged to call 9-1-1 for emergency and (503) 823-3333 to make a police report. 

The Portland Police Bureau recognizes these events can cause alarm, anxiety, and fear for physical and emotional safety for some members of the community. Our communication strategy is mindful of these concerns and emotions and our team is proactively pushing out messaging in a variety of formats to increase public safety and awareness and also to attempt to help alleviate these concerns and fears. The Police Bureau encourages both participants and community members to seek support for their emotional wellness from family, friends, loved ones, faith groups, health care providers, mental health professionals and community. These events can also take a physical and emotional toll on our members and we also take measures for their physical and psychological well-being, including providing assistance through our employee assistance program. 

The Portland Police Bureau's Directive, 0635.10 Crowd Management/Crowd Control can be found at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/649358 

If anyone has a complaint or commendation for the Portland Police Bureau member's actions related to this event, they can contact the Independent Police Review at (503) 823-0146 or at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/ 


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