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Portland Police Under Fire over Friendly Texts with Far-Right Leader

HeadlineFeb 19, 2019

In Oregon, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is calling for an independent investigation after newly revealed friendly text messages between a Portland police officer and the leader of a white supremacist group provoked backlash last week. On Thursday, Willamette Week reported that Portland police officer Jeff Niiya exchanged hundreds of messages with Joey Gibson, leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, including sharing information on upcoming protests organized by leftist, anti-fascist groups. Some have defended the friendly tone of the exchanges, saying it is a common police tactic, but others point to a track record in Portland of failing to hold far-right groups accountable while targeting anti-fascist protesters. Last August, Portland police found a group of Patriot Prayer members on a rooftop with a cache of guns right before a major white supremacist rally. No arrests were made of Patriot Prayer members—and Portland police instead fired rubber bullets at anti-fascist protesters at the march.

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