Plus, the Southern Poverty Law Center wins a new lawsuit with a Portland tactic and the Multnomah County DA race is off to an unexpected start

PMG PHOTO KIT MACAVOY - David Willis (center) speaks to the Portland Liberation group about his frustrations with Mayor Ted Wheeler during a small rally outside the mayor's Southwest Portland home Saturday, July 20.Mayor Ted Wheeler continues to be criticized from both sides for the police handling of the dueling downtown political protests.

Left-wing protesters have repeatedly accused Wheeler, who also is police commissioner, of allowing the police to protect the right-wing protesters. And now right-wing protesters are accusing Wheeler of ordering the police to allow left-wing anti-fascist protesters — sometimes called "antifa" — to run rampant through the streets.

National right-wing provocateur Joe Briggs has even announced he will hold an "End Domestic Terrorism" rally in Portland on Saturday, Aug. 17, with such far-right groups as the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, Oathkeepers, Patriot Prayer and American Guard. If Briggs goes through with his plan, anti-fascist protesters and others on the left undoubtedly will show up, fights will erupt and both sides will accuse Wheeler of supporting the other side again.

Law Center wins with Portland tactic

Lawyers with the Southern Poverty Law Center have won a lawsuit they discussed in Portland during a conference commemorating the 30th anniversary of the killing of Ethiopian refugee Mulugeta Seraw by racist skinheads.

Federal Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch has ordered online neo-Nazi publisher Andrew Anglin to pay Tanya Gersh more than $14 million for anti-Semitic attacks he inspired against her in 2016 and 2017.

Speaking at the Nov. 13, 2018 conference, two SPLC directors said the suit was modeled after the successful one the civic rights organization filed against White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger and his son John following Seraw's death.

The directors included Portland attorney Elden Rosenthal, who represented the Seraw family in the Portland suit that bankrupted the Metzgers.

"The court today made clear that this type of conduct is intolerable in a civil society and that those who would engage in it must pay the price," David Dinielli, deputy legal director at the SPLC, said about the July 15 ruling.

DA race off to unexpected start

The Multnomah County District Attorney's race is not shaping up as expected yet.

The ACLU and other criminal justice report advocates have been supporting liberal outsiders in district attorney races across the country. But so far, only current and former prosecutors are lining up to replace Multnomah County DA Rod Underhill, who has announced he will not seek reelection in 2020.

As reported by the Portland Mercury, they include former Assistant Oregon U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight, former Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Mike Schmidt, and current Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Mariel Mota. But the Mercury notes that Schmidt has advocated for a more equitable cash bail system and reforms to the state's drug crime sentencing rules.

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