Progressive Groups Call for Resignation of Portland Mayor Over Fatal Shooting

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
September 1, 2020Updated: September 3, 2020

Several progressive groups in Oregon have demanded Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s resignation following the fatal shooting of a right-wing protester in the city over the weekend.

In a joint letter, left-wing organizations the Oregon chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Oregon Justice Resource Center, the Portland Democratic Socialists of America NextUp Action Fund, Portland’s Resistance and Popular Mobilization PDX said Wheeler has “not protected or supported” Portland’s residents.

The groups also called for the resignation of Police Chief Chuck Lovell following the Saturday shooting that killed a supporter of the conservative group Patriot Prayer, Aaron “Jay” Danielson.

“What took place last night was inevitable given Mayor Wheeler’s repeated failure,” the letter said. “He has not protected or supported Portlanders. We do not have confidence in his ability to course-correct. He must resign.”

Bobbin Singh, executive director of the Oregon Justice Resource Center, demanded the resignations of local leaders.

“All of us from these organizations have been concerned about and predicted for the past several years now that someone would die in the streets of Portland because of actions committed by individuals because of these conditions that have been created,” Singh said during a virtual press conference.

“These conditions have been created—I want to be very clear—because there’s been a lack of leadership, a lack of vision, and a lack of willingness to confront the issues around racism, white supremacy, law enforcement oversight, accountability, and practices. And we can no longer move forward with the current leadership that’s in place in Portland.”

Danielson was identified by Joey Gibson, founder of the Patriot Prayer. He was reportedly wearing a Patriot Prayer hat when he was shot.

“We love Jay and he had such a huge heart,” Gibson said in a social media post. “God bless him and the life he lived.”

Epoch Times Photo
Joey Gibson, leader of Patriot Prayer, arrives at the scene of a shooting in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020. (Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Reuters)

A GoFundMe fundraising page for Danielson says he was a Portland resident who went downtown to exercise his constitutional rights.

Patriot Prayer has regularly held demonstrations in Portland and Seattle, where they’ve faced opposition from Antifa, a far-left group, and other activists. Brawls between the groups aren’t uncommon.

An Antifa member was identified by his sister as a possible suspect in the shooting.

Mayor Wheeler on Sunday publicly refused federal aid from President Donald Trump to stop rioting in his city and alleged that the president is responsible for Saturday’s shooting. The president has blamed the Democratic mayor for allowing violence to escalate in the city.

After more than 90 consecutive days of demonstrations, arson incidents, looting, and unrest in Portland, Wheeler has come under increasing pressure to bring in federal resources.

Zachary Stieber and Jack Phillips contributed to this report.