Military and Police

ICE Union Urges DOJ Criminal Investigation of Portland Mayor for Withholding Police Services

There are a host of adjectives I could use to describe Portland, Oregon’s smarmy, unctuous, virtue-signaling—oh, look, there I go…pompous Mayor Ted Wheeler. This man has arrogated to himself a unique authority. Apparently, he gets to decide who is entitled to Portland Police protection and who is not. According to the mayor, the often violent protesters of Antifa and the Occupy movement have more rights to police services than federal employees who work for an agency whose policies Mayor Wheeler has said he detests.

Mayor Wheeler demonstrated a whimsical application of law enforcement back in July when he ordered the police department not to “interfere” with the Occupy ICE protesters causing havoc for the good folks at the Portland ICE Detention Center. For some inexplicable reason, Portland’s mayor seems to believe rioting is a protected First Amendment behavior.

It’s not the policies, per se, he detests; it’s Mayor Wheeler’s radical leftist interpretation of those policies. This is an important distinction because Wheeler’s assessment of ICE policy is steeped in his partisan political profile. Now, the ICE agent’s union, the AFGE National ICE Council, represented by attorney Sean Riddell, is fighting back against Mayor Wheeler’s refusal to provide them the police services to which every American—hell, every person in this country, is entitled.

Good for the union. The left’s lawlessness and arbitrary enforcement of laws cannot continue unchallenged. I heard a caller on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show say something like every society is either heading toward civility or barbarism. Not hard to see which political side is prodding society toward barbarism. When was the last time you saw a conservative group wailing, pounding, and clawing at the doors of the U.S. Supreme Court? When have you ever seen violence erupt or piles of garbage—that wasn’t caused by leftist agitators—at a Tea Party rally?

The letter from the ICE union states: “If a rank-and-file police officer was presented with an ongoing crime for 30 days and did not take appropriate action that officer would be placed on administrative leave and subject to an internal investigation.” And likely suspended and possibly terminated.

But, as rank-and-file law enforcement officers know all too well, different rules apply based on a person’s position. The higher the rank, the lower the penalty for misconduct—if there is a penalty at all. In leftist government’s case, it all depends on what political beliefs you hold.

It’s clear Mayor Wheeler not only failed to provide police services to people within his jurisdiction but also he explicitly prevented police from serving people calling for their help. I must be fair, though; the mayor does grant a generous caveat. He’d graciously allow police to respond if the situation involves people’s safety or lives being threatened. How noble. But does an American mayor have the authority not to enforce the law or to pick and choose who merits police services?

Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 162.415: Official misconduct in the first degree states:

(1)  A public servant commits the crime of official misconduct in the first degree if:

(a)   With intent to obtain a benefit or to harm another:

(A) The public servant knowingly fails to perform a duty imposed upon the public servant by law or one clearly inherent in the nature of office.

Well, let’s consider this ORS:

  • “With intent to obtain,” Mayor Wheeler wouldn’t allow his police officers to respond to calls for help from ICE. This is a law enforcement agency many far left and Democrat leaders, including Mayor Wheeler, want abolished. Through his radical directive, he gained the benefit of increased support within and from the Democratic Party. Wouldn’t this mean more political donations into the mayor’s re-election coffers? Or, is it just me?
  • “To harm another.” It seems apparent His Honor intended to harm another by withholding police services from people within a jurisdiction for which he is responsible for public safety. The mayor refused to help people who called 911. And he did it specifically because those people happen to work for ICE whose policies the mayor admits he detests and which is a federal agency he’d like to see abolished. Clear political bias? Or, is it just me?
  • “Imposed upon… by law or… inherent in the nature of the office.” Mayor Wheeler, a public servant, also serves as the Portland Bureau of Police Commissioner. So, I’m thinking, providing police services to everyone in his city is a duty both imposed by law and inherent in the office. Seems he knowingly failed to perform that duty. Or, is it just me?

It’s like they wrote this statute specifically to address Mayor Wheeler’s actions in this case.

Mayor Wheeler argues Portland’s hands-off approach was necessary to protect protesters’ free-speech rights. Yeah, right. Since when does the First Amendment protect trespassing, illegal camping, property damage, and violence?

Due to Mayor Wheeler’s order not to enforce the law, police had to ignore some 60 associated calls for service. During the protests, federal police arrested 19 people. Three were charged with assaulting a federal officer. To me, that sounds like a risk to ICE personnel’s safety. Shouldn’t the mayor’s caveat have applied? I guess it just sounded like a good thing for him to say to provide cover for failing to do his job.

Police incidents can escalate from under control to out of control in an instant. The nature of an incident does not always turn out to represent information a caller initially provides the 911 operator. And when you’re talking about a protest, especially involving groups known for violence, erring should be on the side of more and not less police assistance.

Many people, including the ICE union, accuse Mayor Wheeler of using the Occupy ICE and Antifa demonstrations to further his leftist credentials and enhance his political career. Not surprisingly, His Honor accuses his detractors of retaliation saying, “Make no mistake. They are coming after me because I am a vocal opponent of the administration’s policy of separating kids from their parents.”

No, Mr. Mayor, ICE agents (I’m sure, along with their civilian staff) are coming after you because they needed help from Portland Police that never came. When ICE employees called for Portland Police help, you refused to allow them to aid their law enforcement brothers/sisters. Did you even consider the civilian staff? Now, that was a despicable act, Mayor Wheeler—unconscionable.

Local government officials are rarely prosecuted for Official Misconduct. It’s difficult to prosecute someone in charge of the cops for something so politically saturated. It’s difficult for a jury not to find reasonable doubt when an official commits an act for political reasons because they can always argue otherwise—even incompetence, which is easy for a jury to buy about a politician.

Some people often find it hard to locate the criminal in the political or to separate one from the other. This is understandable since the left has blended the two so adeptly. Obfuscation is a potent tool of the left, and they wield it as proficiently as the Visigoths did their swords.

Too often, when the right wins they let the left off the hook for their misdeeds, wanting to get back to “normality.” I oppose this view and feel that is why the left continues and only gets worse. This is why I hope the Republicans don’t let the Democrats escape justice for what they did to Justice Brett Kavanaugh. I hear conservatives saying, “But we won.” Yeah, well I don’t hear leftists conceding “They won, and we lost.” I hear them saying, “We almost won. We’ll get ‘em next time!”

The ICE union is also asking Mayor Wheeler to suspend his duties as police commissioner. Based on his reprehensible behavior, the mayor belongs nowhere near any law enforcement decisions. How can any Portland resident trust a mayor who picks who may benefit from police services—and worse, chooses who may not?

Think about it: If the mayor will withhold the cops from backing up their federal counterparts in need, specifically because of a political disagreement, why wouldn’t he withhold services from anyone or any group with whom he disagrees politically?

According to Mayor Wheeler’s political philosophy, I would have been within my moral and ethical rights to refuse certain assignments while I was an active-duty cop. For example, my sergeant assigned me to a protection detail for then-Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire.

I believe the state’s Democrats stole the election she won by 8 votes (after a recount). Lots of evidence exists to back up that assertion. She won only after the Democrats “found” boxes of ballots that had been mysteriously “misplaced.” I opposed the governor’s political positions on almost every issue.

So, according to Mayor Wheeler, should I have been able to withhold my police services from the governor? Why not? Isn’t this what the Portland mayor did? He disagrees with people, politically, so he withheld police services to them. How did I manage to do my duty and protect someone with whom I was so politically opposed?

Because it was my job. Because it was my responsibility. Because it was my duty. Just like it’s Mayor Wheeler’s job, responsibility, and duty to provide everyone in his jurisdiction equal protection of the law. Hmm, where have I heard that clause before? Oh, right. In a little document called the U.S. Constitution. But that’s just a charter of negative liberties, anyway, so…

Can you imagine a world where everyone could shirk their public duty if it went against their preferred political positions? Only Republican cops would protect Republican officials. Only Democrat cops would protect Democrats (good luck finding Democrat cops—especially, one still working the streets).

Isn’t this the world the left is creating? If it’s unethical for Wheeler to provide police support to law enforcement agents at a federal agency with which he disagrees, then why isn’t it unethical for me, a conservative-libertarian to refuse to protect a Democrat governor? According to the left, my duty is not to serve, it’s to resist—but only if I’m a leftist. If I’m on the right, they believe it’s my duty to shut up. Well, sorry ‘bout that—ain’t happening.

The right needs to stop rewarding the left’s bad behavior. Too often conservatives fail to follow through on making sure the consequences follow leftists engaged in bad behavior. I admire Senator Chuck Grassley, generally, and recently for his work on the Kavanaugh confirmation. But during an interview with Martha McCallum, he appeared reluctant to pursue investigations and charges against people who may have committed serious crimes while trying to prevent a qualified candidate from becoming a Supreme Court justice.

The left in the Senate saw it as their duty to “resist.” They resisted complying with their constitutional duty to advise and consent regarding an eminently qualified judicial candidate. Well, Portland’s mayor saw it as his duty to “resist” by refusing to use his law enforcement resources to assist agents of a federal agency with whose policies he disagrees.

True virtue and strength of character are with the people who hold their public duty above politics. We admire people like Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy who took a bullet while protecting President Reagan. Secret Service agents don’t put politics above their duties. A majority of society used to respect this notion. I’d guess more agents’ politics were aligned with George Bush than they were with Barack Obama. Yet, the protection they provided for both presidents was equal.

Further, according to the Portland mayor’s political philosophy, Secret Service agents should withhold their protection of President Trump, right? Why should Secret Service agents protect a man responsible for such “evil”?

After all, the president is responsible for the ICE policies that Mayor Wheeler detests. I think it’s Leftist Myth # 17: ICE Agents are tearing babies from their mothers’ arms. What kind of idiot believes that? (I’ll leave that question a rhetorical one. But the answer’s pretty clear.)

I mean, if Portland’s mayor is doing his part by withholding police services from people who work for the president, shouldn’t we all be doing our parts and withhold whatever services we provide from people with whom we disagree politically?

It’s a neat trick the left does. Conflate an opposing political view with evil, then rather than opposing a differing political view, which is what they’re actually doing, they can pretend they’re opposing evil—it’s like political alchemy.

The illogic is staggering, especially if you risk your mental health and try to carry this sentiment out to its logical conclusion. But, you know what? Maybe we should all be resisting? In fact, let’s start by resisting…oh, I don’t know… hypothetically, of course, irresponsible and dangerous stupidity of idiot leftist, radical politicians (even those mayors whose cities do have really good microbrews).

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Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at

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