Press release from PopMob in Portland, Oregon, which states they will fight legally against the amplification by local police of far-Right conspiracy theories.
PORTLAND, OR: Today, on behalf of PopMob, Attorney Juan Chavez of Oregon Justice Resource Center sent a formal demand to the City of Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw. We are demanding the city retract their false statement issued June 29th, 2019 via Twitter, which implied directly or indirectly that PopMob put cement into vegan milkshakes served at a counter protest in response to the threat of alt right violence in our city. In addition to retraction of their defamatory claim, PopMob also demands a correction and letter of regret released to as broad an audience as the original misinformation reached. This includes local, national, and international news organizations who published the falsehood as fact without critical analysis.
On Saturday, June 29th, PopMob and hundreds of Portlanders gathered at a joyful show of resistance against Proud Boys and alt-right hate groups. We provided a dance party atmosphere and served vegan coconut milkshakes. This unfounded and inflammatory claim by the PPB led to an onslaught of abuse and harassment, including death threats, leveled at PopMob and supporters on multiple social media sites, via email, and over the phone1 . This claim, and their continued refusal to admit culpability in perpetuating dangerous misinformation, is akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded building. It put the personal safety of our members at risk and put a target on all leftist demonstrators as the threat of far right violence rises in Portland and nationally.
Chief Outlaw, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and PPB continue to defend their unsubstantiated tweet despite a glaring lack of evidence. Outlaw stated, “As we get information, we want to alert the public”. The only method used to communicate this information was Twitter, despite a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) giving announcements continuously throughout the demonstration, and nearby police making no attempt to confiscate milkshakes or stop them from being consumed. While you cannot unring a bell, this refusal further damages the public’s eroding trust in their police force and perpetuates an adversarial relationship with the people it claims to protect.
We cannot rely on the police to protect the people of Portland when they continually aid the violent agenda of the far right. Per ORS 31.215, they have two weeks from the receipt of our demand today to retract their statement, issue their correction, and release a letter of regret.
1. A selection of screenshots representing the threats is enclosed with this release.