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Portland mayor calls for investigation into police texts

Posted at 11:51 AM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 11:51:26-05

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The mayor of Portland, Oregon, has asked the police chief to investigate "disturbing" texts between the commander of the department's rapid response team and the leader of a far-right group involved in violent protests in the city.

The text messages show Lt. Jeff Niiya communicating with Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson during protests, detailing the movement of a rival anti-fascist protest group and warning Gibson a Patriot Prayer member with a possible warrant for his arrest needed to be careful. The messages were first reported Thursday by the Willamette Week newspaper.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said the messages appeared to encourage Patriot Prayer and contributed to distrust of the police.

The police were accused last August of being heavy-handed and injuring some people who were protesting a rally organized by Gibson.