Portland mayor asks federal government to revoke permit for 'alt-right' rally

Two men were killed last week while trying to help victims of hate speech.

ByABC News
May 30, 2017, 6:40 AM

— -- The mayor of Portland, Oregon, is asking the federal government to cancel the permit for an "alt-right" rally scheduled for Sunday, saying it could make a difficult situation worse, after two men were stabbed to death as they tried to intervene when a pair of women were targeted by a man yelling what authorities have described as hate speech.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also said he is trying to ensure that a permit is not issued for a June 10 protest, which ABC Portland affiliate KATU reported is called March Against Sharia.

The city has not issued any permits for either of the two events, which are planned for Terry D. Shrunk Plaza, Wheeler said. The federal government controls permitting for the venue and has issued a permit for the June 4 demonstration, called the Trump Free Speech Rally, he said.

"I am calling on the federal government to IMMEDIATELY REVOKE the permit(s) they have issued for the June 4th event and to not issue a permit for June 10th," Wheeler wrote on Facebook. "Our city is in mourning, our community's anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation."

Wheeler urged the organizers of the demonstrations to cancel the events and asked their supporters to "stay away from Portland."

On Friday afternoon, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, of North Portland was allegedly hurling insults on a commuter train at two young women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, when three men intervened.

Christian reportedly attacked the three men — identified by police as Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23; Ricky John Best, 53; and Micah David Cole-Fletcher, 21 — with a knife. Namkai-Meche and Best died. Cole-Fletcher was treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Christian was arrested in connection with the stabbings.

Cole-Fletcher released a statement on Sunday, saying, "I want the Muslim community to know that they have a home here in Portland and are loved. I want to honor the families who lost their brave fathers, sons and brothers, and I want the media and the country to honor those families. I want to send my condolences and honor those families."

Wheeler said he hopes the victims of the attack will inspire "changes in the political dialogue in this country," according to The Associated Press.

"Their heroism is now part of the legacy of this great city, and I want future generations to remember what happened here and why, so that it might serve to both eradicate hatred and inspire future generations to stand up for the right values like Rick, Taliesin and Micah did last week," Wheeler said.