The Portland City Attorney rejected a demand by antifascists to retract a misleading tweet posted by the Portland Police Bureau on June 29, which spread unsubstantiated allegations about protesters mixing cement with vegan milkshakes.
Although no physical evidence of quick-drying cement was found and the tweet was based on one lieutenant's observations, according to PPB, the city insisted in a response to a request for retraction that the tweet did not contain inaccurate information.
“The tweet issued by PPB accurately stated that the police had ‘received information’ that some of the milkshakes being thrown contained quick-drying cement,” City Attorney Tracy Reeve wrote in the city’s official response. “It is important to note that at no time did PPB allege misbehavior or wrongdoing by any identified individual or group.”
Popular Mobilization, also known as Pop Mob, which made cashew-and-coconut vegan milkshakes on June 29, sent a letter requesting a retraction and an apology. The antifascist organizers say they received death threats after the PPB tweet, which was picked up in national headlines and news reports as well as among right-wing social media accounts.
"The City of Portland's refusal to retract and apologize for Portland Police's statement on Twitter about cement milkshakes on June 29th is further evidence that they do not appreciate the true gravity of the threat posed by right-wing extremists to the safety of Portlanders," Pop Mob spokesperson Effie Baum said in a statement. "Right wing media and prominent individuals repeated PPB's vague tweet as fact. That led to PopMob receiving an onslaught of threats, including death threats, from far right extremists and white supremacists including vile racist, anti-semitic, homophobic and misogynistic violence."
City officials did not apologize for the tweet, although Mayor Ted Wheeler and Chief Danielle Outlaw have said publicly that the wording could have been more clear.
Still, the city attorney says police want to hear from people receiving threats.
"On another note, we are concerned that members of Pop Mob have experienced 'continued, unwanted threats against (their) lives'," Reeve wrote, "and we strongly encourage any Pop Mob members who have received such threats to report them to the Portland Police Bureau."
Meanwhile, a right-wing protest today at the mayor's house attracted less than two dozen people. No antifascists confronted the protesters, and no violence has been reported.