A Portland law office was trashed this weekend, in an apparent attempt by an anonymous group of anarchists to intimidate a local lawyer who represents the union for officers at U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.
Last weekend, vandals pushed a garden hose through the mail slot at Sean Riddell's law office in Northeast Portland, soaking the main floor and basement. The water sat undiscovered until 2:30 pm Sunday, April 28.
The wood floor warped. Carpet in the basement was stripped. Drywall from the basement ceiling was yanked down in crumbling chunks. Large splotches of the concrete foundation are still wet.
Riddell says the water caused thousands of dollars in damage, which will probably be covered by his insurance policy.
He rebuked the vandals who flooded his office for their anonymity. "When I make a political statement, or when I make a political statement on behalf of a client," Riddell says, "I sign my name."
The self-identified anarchists claimed responsibility in an anonymous email to WW early Monday morning.
"We decided to congratulate him on his new building by unraveling his garden hose, pushing it through his mail slot, and turning on the water," the anonymous email said.
They targeted Riddell's new office in Northeast Portland because, they say, he bought it with funds earned by representing the ICE union. Riddell and other lawyers he shares the space with moved into the building last November.
The anarchists suggested their motive was to intimidate lawyers from working with federal immigration agents. "Our goal was to cause maximum economic damage, that should serve as a warning to all individuals and businesses that profit off the human misery perpetrated by ICE," the email said.
Read the email here.
Riddell represents the National ICE Council, which is the union for federal immigration officers. His clients filed a tort claim against the city of Portland after Portland police declined to intervene in protests last summer outside of a federal building where ICE agents work. They have not yet filed a lawsuit.
The Occupy ICE protest camp shut down the building for several days, until Federal Protective Service officers set up a police line to keep protesters away from the entrance and exit. The protests also caused some disruptions at a Tesla dealership near the federal building, and spurred a weekslong shutdown along a trolley track.
Most of the anti-ICE protests in Portland have been nonviolent and often targeted buildings where federal immigration officials work, rather than individuals.
Riddell says he wasn't feeling terrorized. "I'm not a victim," he says. "I'm just doing my job."