Far-Right group Patriot Prayer made news in Portland this weekend after the group engaged in a brawl with counter-protesters. Oregon Live is reporting the group was prepared for a far more violent encounter on August 4th, as a number of their members were found on a rooftop armed with a cache of weapons.
While police found the members and confiscated the guns, neither the public or Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was immediately notified. The police eventually gave the weapons back to the protesters.
After this weekends violence, Wheeler had announced plans to regulate the cities protests in an effort to regain control.
During a press conference to discuss the ordinances, Wheeler had to reveal, “the Portland Police Bureau discovered individuals who positioned themselves on a rooftop parking structure in downtown Portland with a cache of firearms.”
When asked why it took so long to notify both the public and the mayor, Police Chief Danielle Outlaw noted that, “The Police Bureau warns the public that protesters might be armed. Both right- and left- wing demonstrators have come to Portland protests armed.”
The leader of Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson, downplayed the accusations against his group. “It sounds like they completely exaggerated it. Those who spoke at the press conference made it sound like the members were some sniper pointing his gun down at people and arrests would have been made if the situation had been more serious.”
Portland has been a sort of epicenter for confrontations between protesters on both the far-left and far-right. This weekend’s violence occurred during Patriot Prayers Law and Order rally, in response to the police involved shooting of Patrick Kimmon.
Portland represents a dangerous area for these kinds of demonstrations as protesters are allowed to freely carry firearms. While gun violence has thus far been avoided, it may only be a matter of time before something more serious happens.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology and spending time at the shore with his family.