DIRTY DEALINGS

Portland Official: Report Confirms Collusion Between Police and Far-Right Patriot Prayer Group

A member of Portland’s city council has warned of a “broken policing system” in the city after a newspaper published text messages purporting to show collusion between a police officer and the far-right group Patriot Prayer. “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. The newspaper Willamette Week obtained text messages through a public-records request between Niiya, the commander for the police rapid-response team, and Gibson, who has spearheaded right-wing protests that have rocked the city. The texts purportedly show Niiya had a friendly rapport with Gibson. In one text reported by the newspaper, Niiya allegedly tells Gibson there’s no need to arrest his assistant, Tusitala Toese, even if he has a warrant, unless Toese commits a new crime. “Just make sure he doesn’t do anything which may draw our attention,” Niiya allegedly texted Gibson on Dec. 9, 2017, Willamette Week reported.