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Portland Police respond to a riot declaration on April 16 following an officer shooting a local man. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Friday asked residents to help "unmask" the people behind violence at protests in recent weeks, which grew in fervor after police fatally shot a white man at Lents Park.

What he's saying: “They want to burn, they want to bash, they want to intimidate, they want to assault,” Wheeler said in a Friday video statement, referring to violent protestors. "Our community needs to resume their lives. People need to go back to work. Employers need to be able to reopen."

  • "I support our police using all legal strategies, including kettling, when the appropriate circumstances and resources are available to do so without putting officers at risk of physical harm."
  • "Our job is to unmask them, arrest them, and prosecute them," he said. "I want to personally thank neighbors, family, friends, and others who have come forward with vital evidence. People know who these criminals are. They know what they're up to."

Wheeler faced backlash for urging residents to call the police if they see people who are "all dressed in all black" arriving at protests in cars. His office in a follow-up statement said he was referring to "those who engage in criminal actions."

Flashback: "Understand that doing damage to us, our communities, and our resources undoes the work we do," a group of Portland-based Black organizers and protesters wrote in an open letter last week, prior to Wheeler's statement.

  • The mayor appeared to reference the letter, saying: "If BLM leaders can show the courage to stand up to this mob, then we all should."

The other side: "They tried to make us look like we are against each other. We might not all agree on the ways that we protest or we fight, but we know that we must fight," said protester Kevin Wright at a demonstration Saturday with other Black community members in response to Wheeler's remarks.

Go deeper

Apr 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

6 police killings occurred in the 24 hours after verdict in Chauvin trial

Demonstrators gather outside a government building during an emergency city council meeting following the police killing of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

At least six police killings took place in the 24 hours after a verdict was reached in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, AP reports.

Why it matters: As many nationwide breathed a collective sigh of relief after a jury on Tuesday found Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd, some of the six deaths prompted renewed calls for justice and an end to police violence.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker