Texts Show Collusion Between Police and Far-Right Extremists, Oregon Official Claims

February 15, 2019 AT 7:08 AM

By Associated Press

A member of Portland's city council said Thursday a newspaper's report that the commander for the police rapid response team exchanged friendly text messages with a leader of far-right protests that have rocked the city confirms collusion exists between some police and right-wing extremists.

"I am not shocked, and I am not surprised at today's reporting of Lt. Jeff Niiya's collaboration with Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson over text to provide aid and support for their hate marches," Councilwoman Jo Ann Hardesty said in a statement.

Willamette Week obtained text messages through a public records request between Niiya and Gibson. The texts purportedly show Niiya had a friendly rapport with Gibson, frequently discussing Gibson's plans to demonstrate.

In one text reported by the newspaper, Niiya tells Gibson that he doesn't see a need to arrest his assistant, Tusitala Toese, who often brawls with antifascist protesters, even if he has a warrant, unless Toese commits a new crime.

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