Owner of Café Targeted During Portland’s ‘Day of Rage’ Speaks Out

October 15, 2020 Updated: October 15, 2020

Things in Portland, Oregon, have taken a bad turn and are getting worse, a business owner whose café was damaged during recent riots told The Epoch Times.

John Jackson owns Heroes American Café. Rioters smashed windows and fired gunshots into the establishment during the “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage” on Oct. 11.

“Portland and Oregon, it’s an amazing place to live, it’s beautiful, it’s scenic, it’s got a ton of culture. But we’re going the wrong way on a one-way street right now, and the leadership—Ted Wheeler, Kate Brown, City Council, all these folks need to step up. They need to step up and either provide strong leadership or hand the reins to someone else that will,” Jackson, 55, said, referring to Portland’s mayor and Oregon’s governor, both Democrats.

Riots and protests have taken place in Oregon’s largest city nearly every night since late May, except for a two-week break in August as wildfires loomed. Agitators have caused tens of millions of dollars in damage and led to the Portland Police Bureau spending millions on overtime.

Police have also struggled to respond to 911 calls because of the strain on resources.

The “Day of Rage” was one of the most violent nights yet. It was planned ahead. Organizers called on people not to photograph or record what was happening. Rioters tore down statues of two former American presidents before damaging a slew of businesses and institutions, including the Oregon Historical Society, which they tried to burn down.

Rioters fired a gun through a restaurant in Portland on Oct. 11, Police Chief Chuck Lovell told reporters at a press conference.

“What took place was extremely dangerous, with just a large number of people in the downtown, clearly intent on doing damage, firing firearms in park blocks where there’s people in residence. We are five months into this, and we still have a fairly high level of violence taking place,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
A sign informing visitors of a temporary bank branch closure hangs from a window broken during a riot in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 11, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
People flee from police officers during a riot in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 11, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Jackson was at home when he received word from the superintendent of the building his business is located in, a seven-story residential building. He went to his café and saw the damage. No police officers were around. He called 911. No one responded. He eventually flagged down a police officer who was passing by. That officer filed a report, and both the Portland Police Bureau and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are investigating.

The targeting of the café appeared to be intentional. A tweet, posted several days before the riot, was inserted into a thread about “non-friendly businesses,” or companies that show support for police officers, “or anything else that’s anti the BLM movement,” or Black Lives Matter. The café “gives profits to their heroes…. cops,” a Twitter user wrote.

In addition, Jackson’s business received a phone call warning that something could or would happen to the café. The caller mentioned social media posts.

Jackson told The Epoch Times that the allegation he gives profits to the police is fabricated. The heroes in his café’s name refers to “community-type heroes,” such as veterans, first responders, and educators. Jackson is a military veteran. He also believes that “99.9 percent of police are out there doing a fabulous job and they have the same goal as many people: They just want to get home at night safely.”

As for claims he’s against Black Lives Matter, Jackson called them ridiculous.

“People that started all this with my company and targeted my company, they said I don’t care about Black Lives Matter, and I’m a black man. I mean, that’s how ridiculous they are, so I want to embarrass them by saying, of course it matters. If it didn’t matter, then I wouldn’t matter to myself,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
Heroes American Café with two windows boarded up after being hit by rioters, in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 11, 2020. (Courtesy of John Jackson)
Epoch Times Photo
Heroes American Café in Portland, Ore., in a file photograph. (Courtesy of John Jackson)

Jackson said he believes Black Lives Matter has a real purpose and sees racism as systematic and something that requires solutions. He views Antifa, the anarcho-communist group involved in sabotage and vandalism, as fascist—exactly what the group claims to oppose.

Several known members of Antifa were part of the riots on Oct. 11. Several people were arrested and two were charged.

Jackson plans to remain in Portland.

“It’s not up to anyone other than the people in Portland to decide if Heroes is going to be there,” Jackson said. He said he has received tremendous support since his business was hit.

“What I’m finding and my belief is that people in Portland are tired of what’s going on, and the people of Portland don’t support any type of violence, because I’ve really just received love and praise for speaking out, and speaking out against violence, and supporting peaceful protests,” he said.

Jackson voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 and plans to do so again in November.

“Unless something really strange happens. I think that if you’re going to have a strategic bet, you should bet on the person that’s going to move the things that are important to you forward, and me being in business, that’s important. And loving our country is important, and strong leadership is important,” he said, adding that he hopes Trump will grow in his second term and improve race relations.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber