Mayor Ted Wheeler says he decided to send Portland police to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on Southwest Macadam Avenue after Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson said he was going to show up at the protest camp Friday evening.
Gibson posted on Facebook Thursday that he was going to "talk with protesters" at the camp that has been erected outside of the federal building for more than a month.
Wheeler says he spoke with Portland police chief Danielle Outlaw and the two leaders decided to send police to "address any criminal behavior" at the ICE building. The mayor had previously vowed to keep local police out of skirmishes between protesters and federal law enforcement officers.
"Given recent past incidents of violence between groups of demonstrators, I asked Portland Police to maintain a presence near the facility to ensure those present can safely express their First Amendment rights," Wheeler said in a statement.
"The Portland Police Bureau protects and defends constitutionally-protected activity but may take police action should events involve criminal behavior, such as disorderly conduct, harassment, assault, or criminal mischief," Outlaw said.